We encourage and provide young people with the opportunity to pursue education, apprenticeships and employment as a means to help them fulfil their ambitions for their future careers.
We help young people realise their potential and explore the avenues open to them to lead a life that fulfils their potential. The Aspire+ Programme, partners with numerous local schools, Moat Foundation (the charitable arm of Moat Housing, housing association) and Ashford Borough Council.
The Aspire programme was created in 2009 as part of a joint initiative between a Kent-based charity called Pipeline and Thanet District Council. The aim was to engage with young people that were struggling to access further education, training, and employment opportunities.
Following on from the success of Aspire in Thanet, a similar need was identified in Ashford and a pilot twelve week Aspire programme was launched in 2013. These programmes ran for 2 years and its reputation grew within Ashford and the local schools.
Initially, the twelve week Aspire programmes were fully funded by Ashford Borough Council, Ashford Supporting Families and the Moat Foundation.
However, as Aspire has grown and developed, it now works more closely with local schools, drawing funding from them for each young person attending the programme. Although much of our funding now comes directly from the schools we still draw funding from Ashford Borough Council and from Moat Foundation.
A Typical Attendee
Originally the programmes were aimed at 16-18 old NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) who needed positive influence, direction and practical support to help them progress.
As Aspire grew, we became aware of a need in Ashford of working with young people who were finding it difficult to engage with mainstream education. Aspire now only works with this age group (15-16) delivering an alternative curriculum option for these young people to access instead of mainstream education.
Method of Delivery
Aspire is a 540-hour study programme for up to 18 learners from the Ashford area. This program equates to an average of 16 hours each week, for 32 weeks excluding half terms. Each child will participate in a course that has three key aims, Personal Development, Improvement of Maths and English & Work experience.
Our main aim on Aspire is to help these young people to rediscover a sense of purpose and direction in their lives.
This can be different for each young person but our aim for each is to increase their attendance, help them to achieve Level 1 Functional Skills Maths and English, pass their NCFE Occupational Studies and start to make good decisions, reduce their involvement with the police, and improve their self-esteem.
Since Aspire’s inception in 2013, 70% of young people have moved onto something far more positive than when they started whether in education, employment or starting an apprenticeship.
Each course on average had an overall attendance figure of between 80-90% and overall the young people have completed over 1500 hour of voluntary work.
Our most obvious challenge for each cohort of young people is the young people themselves.
It is important to remember that all of these young people had previously struggled with every other form of education provision that they had been assigned to.