On the 14th November, a high-level delegation of senior officials from the European Commission, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) visited WAC Performing Arts and Media, a founding member of the Rinova Consortium.
The visit was headed by Peter Stub Jorgensen, who is in charge of the Directorate-General for Employment at the European Commission, which oversees the European Social Fund (ESF). During a 90-minute visit, the delegation met WAC’s staff, tutors and students to hear first-hand how funded programmes such as ESF and Europe’s Leonardo da Vinci programme (see ASPIRE – a project that WAC partners) enabled WAC and its consortium partners to engage with the hard to reach and design positive activities to support them back into education or employment.
In a lively discussion, the Directors of WAC and Rinova, Celia Greenwood and Richard Parkes presented a view ‘from the ground’ about effective partnership working; the importance of transnational work to innovation; progression to apprenticeships and other mainstream programmes; and how the move to ‘Prime Contractors’ in the Work Programme and top-down commissioning risks losing ‘bottom up’ solutions in project design and effectiveness.
Richard Parkes commented “The officials that visited WAC do not come much more senior in this line of work. I applaud them for taking time out of the huge demands they have on their time to see first hand the impact of their programmes on young lives – and for being prepared to listen to the views of students and staff about our experiences of ‘what works'”.
The picture above was taken on the steps outside WAC’s premises at Hampstead Town Hall at the close of the visit and includes (from left):
- Celia Greenwood, Director, WAC Performing Arts and Media
- Peter Stub Jorgensen, Director, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Angus Gray, Head of ESF Division (Department for Work and Pensions)
- Bernardo Rodrigues, (GLA Brussels Office)
- Alex Conway, the Director of the European Programmes Management Unit (GLA)
- Elueterio Rodriguez, Desk Officer, United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, DG Employment
- Alan Tyler, European Social Fund Division Policy Team from the Department for Work & Pensions
- Richard Parkes, Founder, Rinova