Inspire 2 Independence (i2i) was founded in 2004 in a small office on the University of York campus. It was here that five directors, experienced in helping individuals back into sustainable employment, set up the first i2i centres in the Marches (West Midlands) and Stockport – catering for Lone Parent groups and New Deal clients.
Building on this success, new contracts were secured in the Greater Manchester East and West districts and an innovative Coaching Academy was established for Ethnic Minorities at the Ewood Park football stadium in Blackburn.
Since then, a rapidly growing team of senior managers, project managers, employment specialists and delivery staff have opened centres in the Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and the West Midlands - establishing a strong reputation with high standards of delivery and job outcomes. Since 2011, i2i has delivered the Government’s Work Programme across the West Midlands and North of England in partnership with a number of Prime Contractors.
i2i has also helped hundreds of businesses to up-skill their workforce by working closely with employers to understand the skills needs of their staff. By identifying the appropriate training programmes, i2i assessors deliver a range of qualifications including retail, business administration, customer service and team leading across five regions (North East, North West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber). These qualifications are designed to support any internal development or training and help to add value to any learner.
Under its Coaching Academy initiative, i2i has worked with professional football clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers – to name but a few. By combining classroom learning with motivational sports sessions, thousands of people have successfully been helped back into sustainable work or training. It is thought that more than 60% of those attending the i2i Coaching Academy have progressed to a successful outcome.
In February 2012, the company celebrated the launch of the i2i Life Foundation, which is the charitable arm of i2i. The i2i Life Foundation was set up to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people through the provision of physical and educational activity. The charity works with 7-18-year-olds to develop their skills and capabilities – with the aim of helping them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals.
Over the past eight years of operation, i2i has successfully engaged with a broad spectrum of clients, from the jobless to employers wishing to develop their workforce and their own management skills. The journey has been an exhilarating one for everyone involved in the unprecedented growth of the company. From an initial team of ten, i2i has grown to a workforce of almost 400 employees and is now firmly established as a major training provider and contributor to the employment and up-skilling of our national workforce.