At the heart of the VIY model, young people are mentored by, and work alongside, professional tradespeople who share their skills. To date, more than 900 tradespeople have volunteered as VIY mentors, recruited locally according to each project’s needs, and all mentors are inducted, CRB-checked and briefed by VIY prior to commencing work, and fully-supported throughout their involvement.

VIY also employs a core team of Lead Mentors (see below), based regionally, who play a key role in site-managing and delivering our projects on-the-ground, including supporting local Volunteer Mentors on site, and leading on all guided learning activities with young people. All of our Lead Mentors started out as Volunteer Mentors and have considerable experience across multiple VIY projects.

Our Lead Mentors

Zamir Azram East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorks & Humber
Ashley Ball South East, South West
Kevin Binnee South East
Natasha Clark-Withers London
Alan Dalton East of England, London, South East
Bill Langwith London, South East
Derek Luxford South East
Sajid Mahmood East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorks & Humber
Dan Munn East of England, London, South East
Matt Stott South East
Paul Wilks North East, North West
Imran Younas East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorks & Humber
A Lead Mentor's perspective "It's a great feeling sharing your skills and seeing young people develop and grow in confidence." Imran Younas

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 volunteer tradespeople in a Wickes store and 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 50 VIY projects across the West Midlands and elsewhere in the UK, personally helping over 1,000 young people gain a City & Guilds Entry Level qualification.

Imran is now a VIY Lead Mentor and, as well as mentoring young people on projects, he also helps set up 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.”

A Volunteer Mentor's perspective "I was so impressed by the work of one of the young people I mentored, I offered her a part time job." Bella Hindle

“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.”
A Volunteer Mentor's perspective "You're helping to inspire the next generation of tradespeople, which the country really needs.” Alistair Trevitt

“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!

“It’s also great that Wickes can help support local VIY projects by providing tools and materials, and I would definitely encourage other Wickes store colleagues, and tradespeople who shop at Wickes, to get involved. You get to develop your own skills and gain new experiences at the same time as helping to inspire the next generation of tradespeople, which the country really needs.”