Adele Oliver – a current VIY volunteer

31 May 2019

Adele, aged 17, is among 26 young volunteers taking part in a VIY project to refurbish Stockton Cricket Club in County Durham.

The project is being run with the support of Sport England’s Potentials Fund in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund and the #iwill campaign.

Adele is studying painting and decorating at Middlesbrough College, and wanted to practice the skills she’s learnt in a way that helped the community.

“The club is used by lots of kids and families in the area who can sometimes struggle financially and so it’s great that I’m able to help them out by improving their club. I’ve also really enjoyed putting my skills to use on a real life job. I’ve never really volunteered anywhere before, but I’ve enjoyed this so much and I would love to volunteer more in the future.”

Jules Lancaster, Manager, Shard End Youth Centre

23 March 2019

“The project has directly helped secure the centre’s future, as the level of funding we receive from our local council is largely dependent on increasing the number of young people using and benefiting from our facilities and the activities we run – and crucially, almost all of the young people who have participated in VIY at Shard End (91 out of 97 participants) have not previously been members or involved at the centre.”

Alistair Trevitt

18 January 2019

“I’m the Operations Manager at the Wickes store in Perry Barr, Birmingham, and I first mentored with VIY on a carpentry workshop project at Eden School. I think VIY is a fantastic project that helps young people to gain new practical skills. Being a parent myself, it’s also good to see schools trying new ways to encourage young people to learn vocational skills that can open up job and career opportunities they hadn’t previously considered. I only wish I’d had the opportunity myself to take part in a VIY project when I was at school many years ago!”

Bella Hindle

18 January 2019

“I’m a self employed painter and decorator from Southend, and I have so far mentored on a couple of local VIY projects and I can honestly say it’s been an eye-opener. The young people really put the effort into the work and learning new skills, and often spoke about how optimistic they were about their futures now that they’re learning a trade. Some even discussed their ambition to embark on a painting and decorating career as a self-employed tradesperson and it became clear to me that this project not only gives young people a trade but also builds confidence and gives them a passion for their next steps in life.

“I believe that VIY is changing lives as well as helping to improve community venues and buildings, and it’s definitely a valuable experience for any young person who decides to give it a go. I would also recommend getting involved as a skills mentor to other tradespeople. I’ve only just started out with VIY and I will definitely help on more projects.”

Kayleigh Morris – a VIY volunteer

17 January 2019

As a complete novice, Kayleigh, from Hackney, took part in skills sessions at VIY’s north London Hub project, on the Northumberland Park Estate in Haringey, in 2015. Through her participation she achieved City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations in carpentry and plumbing, and her VIY experience inspired her to start a construction skills course at Lambeth College. This also led to Kayleigh being offered a two-year apprenticeship by Pimlico Plumbers, a VIY employer partner. She qualified in 2018 and now works full-time with Pimlico Plumbers, whilst also still serving as an ambassador for VIY. Kayleigh sees trade skills as a job for life: “Once you learn a trade, you’re okay. You’ll always be able to make a living.”

Imran Younas

17 January 2019

Imran lives in Birmingham and has many years experience as a self-employed tradesman. He first got involved with VIY in February 2013 after seeing an advert calling out for volunteers on trade recommendation site Rated People. He initially agreed to volunteer for one day on a local project, but he quickly discovered he really enjoyed passing on his skills to young people. Since then he has been involved in more than 375 VIY projects in the West Midlands and across the UK, personally helping over 6,000 young people gain a City & Guilds Entry Level qualification.

Imran is now our National Head Mentor and, as well as mentoring young people on projects, he also helps scope and assess new VIY projects, and brief and train new mentors. He also undertakes outreach work in schools and colleges, delivering assembly talks and running classroom workshop sessions.

Imran makes the point: “It’s great to see how young people develop their skills whilst working on a VIY project. Many of them come to VIY thinking that that they’re not very good at learning, but once involved, they realise they can pick up new vocational skills very quickly, and that finding a job doing something you really enjoy is possible.”

Zeeshan Shah – a VIY volunteer

16 January 2019

Zeeshan, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was 22 and unemployed at the time he joined a VIY project to repair and improve a local drop-in centre run by Youth Concern in aid of vulnerable young people. He was attracted to the opportunity to volunteer and do something for his community at the same time as learning new vocational skills and improving his employment prospects. Zeeshan ultimately committed more than 50 volunteer hours to the project and successfully achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditation in painting and decorating. He is now targeting a starter job as a painter and decorator with the support of the local Job Centre Plus office through which he first heard about VIY.

Jordan Smith – a VIY volunteer

5 October 2018

Jordan first participated, aged 23, at the Shard End VIY Hub project in Birmingham in 2016. He was referred by Job Centre Plus and completed four City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations (in carpentry, plumbing, tiling, and painting & decorating). From VIY, Jordan progressed to an apprenticeship with one of our local partners, The Construction Training Centre, before accepting a full-time job as an engineer with local company Midlands Flooring. According to VIY Lead Mentor Imran Younas: “When we first met Jordan we could tell he was competent and mature, but that he just needed a bit of guidance. Hopefully that’s what we’ve been able to give him. When I first saw him supporting the younger people in his group I knew he would make a good peer mentor, and I’m really pleased we’ve been able to get him back to help with new projects. He is absolutely brilliant with new learners and I’m sure he’ll have a brilliant career – he deserves it.”

Shamak Czachowski – a VIY volunteer

30 May 2018

Shamak, from Haringey in north London, was NEET (not in employment, education or training) prior to signing up to participate in a local VIY project, aged 17, having been referred via Job Centre Plus. Over four weeks on the Eric Allin Centre project in Tottenham, Shamak committed more than 50 volunteer hours, at the same time as working towards and achieving Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations in both plumbing and tiling. In the process, Shamak so impressed one of the local building and construction companies (Ideal Handyman) providing skills mentors on the project, they offered him a paid apprenticeship, in conjunction with the College of North East London. Shamak’s journey has also gone full circle, with him now volunteering in his spare time with VIY as a peer mentor for young people on new VIY projects across north London.