Project INC’s Alternative Art Provision reengages students in Learning
Lisa Alberti has over 15 years teaching experience, five of which was as a Senior Manager in Inner City Manchester. She is a firm believer in functional and vocational learning as a successful route to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training. Lisa is passionate about Developing frameworks for engagement and participation of young people in innovation and creative learning. It was with this background that Lisa approached Enterprising Macclesfield to discuss launching a not-for-profit art based education service in the Macclesfield area.
Lisa’s original concept was to implement early interventions to support schools with students that were struggling with traditional education techniques. She was keen to use Macclesfield rich heritage in creative arts as a means of reengaging students in a supportive learning environment to give them the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Location within an Arts and Heritage setting was key to create a truly alternative environment for hard to reach young people.
Enterprising Macclesfield met with Lisa initially to gain an understanding of her enterprise idea, her goals and to establish what was needed to make the venture a success. Mike Rance, Enterprising Macclesfield’s coach, was selected by the review panel as having the most relevant knowledge and experience through his work as a Trustee on the Boards of charities and his knowledge of key senior people in the local area. Mike supported Project Inc by helping Lisa to take a step back and look at the overall business concept and determining what business model would minimise risk yet provide a valuable service which would gain traction quickly in the market. “Mike’s contribution was invaluable during that initial planning phase,” said Lisa, “he acted as a sounding board for the many ideas I initially had, he helped me to focus on what was important and gave me the reassurance that this was a viable and sustainable enterprise. He was also able to use his and Enterprising Macclesfield’s network to open doors for me, introducing me to potential partners that we could work with. I also had the option of accessing what was in effect an entire business support capability in legal, accounting/finance, IT and marketing.”
Project INC now has a established Arts Education Facility with a studio in the Silk Museum in Macclesfield. Up to 6 students a day are engaged and accessing the Art and Design Curriculum through to GCSE. The provision and Learner Focused programmes are engaging and supporting students not accessing Mainstream Education.
Project INC initially resourced the facility with freelance staff and is just starting to recruit its first permanent employee. This not-for-profit enterprise is already establishing itself as a key resource in the area, working closely with Cheshire East Local Education Authority, Pupil Referral Units and local Academies. The young people involved typically are either children in care or children with poor behaviour and/or attendance records in education. “We focus on developing learning programmes tailored to each individual young person which is highly outcome and objective focused,” said Lisa Alberti, “we are very fortunate to be in a position to provide a truly creative and inspiring environment in the museum.”
The combination of a very different approach to learning through the creative arts, a stimulating environment and a supportive team is having a real impact on these young people’s lives. Students have the potential to achieve an arts award or GCSE through the programme. However, that probably fails to highlight the real transformation. These young people rediscover confidence in their own ability. They learn tolerance, consideration of others and build resilience. Through a nurtured approach they develop personally and socially in how they interact with peers and adults. “I’m very excited about the potential Lisa’s educational service has to help students engage with and enjoy their education,” said Mike Rance, coach at Enterprising Macclesfield. “Lisa is delivering not just a valuable service locally, she is putting the town’s Silk Heritage to good use whilst helping to ensure our young people are given the best opportunity to contribute to local business and to the society as a whole.”
“The team at Enterprising Macclesfield are fantastic and I would urge anyone thinking of setting up either a social or commercial enterprise to tap into this great local resource. It is so encouraging to see local senior professionals and local businesses volunteering their valuable time to help start-ups like us and even established businesses,” said Lisa. “We know we have much more to do and there will be opportunities to work with other education service providers locally and potentially extend our coverage in due course.”