The Aspire Workshop provides training services for local people giving them the chance to upgrade and renew their skills and more opportunities to get sustainable work or to get closer to the labour market.

Skills enhancement

Traditional forms of training can let people down, if they fail to make the adjustments necessary to take account of particular literacy, numeracy and IT needs or of particular disabilities. We are committed to upgrading the skills of our workforce and of local people through hands-on experience and internal and external training that wraps round this experience.

Co-design and development

Training removed from the job sometimes teaches in isolation, leaving a huge gap between theory and the practical challenges of the working day. So our Aspire workshop which delivers training for both our employees and local people, now co-designs training programmes around the practical elements of a working day whatever the challenge.

Training innovation

Aspire constantly innovates in training and services, challenging ourselves to achieve better results with the people with whom we work.We don’t do theatre style training. Getting user involvement and participation in the development of training is an essential part of what we do. Listening to what people find hard is critical to this.

Aspire Standards and Challenges

At work, on the job training and bite-sized chunks of training is often our preferred approach for people who may not be used to the formality of college. Each of our employees has their own training and development plan linked to our standards. Our Aspire Standards have been compiled by a team of our workers. You can read about them here Our external challenges put people to the practical test of planning and doing.

Employment tasters and training

For some people, a gap in their working years can be a major obstruction to getting work. Our Aspire employment tasters give people the chance to get work experience, while supporting them in local training and development. We don’t replace jobs with volunteers, but we do provide volunteering and work experience as part of a measured path of progress and in return for free training.

Estates and home management

The Aspire workshop, our training Academy, runs training throughout the year, some of which are open to the community. This includes training on health and safety, first aid, cleaning and specialist courses in grounds maintenance including use of chainsaw, working at heights and use of power machinery; carrying out estates inspections and checking for health and safety risks; and passing a series of Aspire Challenge tests.

Rising to the challenge to take the practical steps to make an idea become real is a lesson learnt and an essential part of making progress


Self employment on the rise 

The growing trend towards self employment offers up opportunities but also pitfalls for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. Aspire offers practical advice and support for those considering self-employment, building on our real life experience of running and sustaining business through difficult times.

Our first start up business

Our business courses for start-ups were first innovated in 2010 when we launched our programme offering those with a history of homelessness or disadvantage in the labour market support in starting a business as a pathway out of poverty.


Our supporters

We provided training programmes for residents in housing associations such as Affinity Sutton, Amicus Horizon, Arhag, Circle Anglia, Family Mosaic, Genesis and Housing Solutions. Along the way we picked up valuable supporters such as the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and the Big Lottery.


The revamp

Thanks to the Big Lottery we were able to build on our success and totally revamp how we worked with disadvantaged groups and individuals when the age of austerity came. We became an ASDAN registered centre, threw out traditional theatre style training and went with our guts.


Co-designed training

No experts, no mandation, a flexible curriculum, participant choice and co-production with the participants of the agendas over a two week period. We selected a partner who was willing to innovate and work with us in piloting our new approach and are grateful to Crisis, our partner during the pilots.


The Aspire challenge

Our enterprise challenges emphasize practical tasks, peer group working and support and linking long term goals to practical steps to achieve results.  There’s disruption, disorganisation and, at times, despair!  Then there’s coming together, teamwork, and focus for those determined enough to take the plunge. No difference from running your own business.


Making progress

For others, there’s a chance to reflect to decide on the next steps – education, volunteering to reach their goals; a part time job and further research; or getting further experience in the labour market or realising that their idea was not a good one. More like the Apprentice than Dragon’s Den!