Employment Academy
Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Aspire sculpture launched

Wonde and Randy Klein
Thames Reach Employment and Resettlement worker Wonde Mosie (left) is pictured by the Aspire sculpture with artist Randy Klein

22 March 2013

A one-tonne metal sculpture created by 14 formerly homeless men and women and internationally renowned artist Randy Klein was launched at a ceremony held last week at the Thames Reach Employment Academy in Camberwell.

The sculpture, entitled Aspire, is centred around an 18 foot, 100 year-old spiral staircase which was an original feature of the renovated Edwardian building which plays home to the academy.

A series of metal figures – created by the artist and formerly homeless people – have been added onto the staircase and are shown ascending it, holding the tools commonly used in the workplace. This represents the notion of people climbing towards success, a key aim of the Employment Academy, which will help thousands of long-term unemployed Londoners and formerly homeless people get the support and training to find work.

The formerly homeless people involved in the construction of the sculpture attended workshops organised by the London Engineering Company which offered participants the chance to get hand-on experience in steel fabrication and to assist in the creation of the sculpture.

Princess Dianmonique, who worked on the construction of the sculpture, said: “Getting the chance to work on this project was a real confidence booster – it had an inspirational effect on me and I’d recommend getting involved in this type of project to everyone.”

Wonde Mosie, who works for Thames Reach’s Employment and Resettlement Team, and who helped coordinate the project, cut the ribbon to officially launch the statue. He said: “I was once homeless myself but through this project I got the opportunity to help other formerly homeless people make progress and move forwards with their lives.”

Funding for the project came from the Peter Minet Trust, Oak Foundation and Thames Reach.

Paula Jones, a trustee of the Peter Minet Trust, said: “We felt the aims of the Employment Academy were ones which would prove to be invaluable to the local community and the Aspire statue symbolised everything this project is about.”

The artist Randy Klein, said: “The sculpture breathes life into this wonderful 100 year old staircase and it is symbolic of people improving themselves and taking the steps up towards a better life. It was a great learning experience both for myself and the formerly homeless people.”

Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach director, said: “Randy’s involvement of service users in the construction of this sculpture reflects our approach which is to help people see their strengths and develop them.

“It was exciting to invite our neighbours and partners to the Employment Academy so they could participate in the launch of this community sculpture which comes out of the partnership between the local artist Randy Klein and formerly homeless people.”

The launch of the Aspire sculpture and the work of Thames Reach was covered on the BBC London Radio breakfast show hosted by Paul Ross and Penny Smith.

Both Thames Reach Chief Executive Jeremy Swain and Princess Diamoniqué were interviewed. See the BBC London website for a recording of the show: