Young People

VIY gives young people aged 14-24 the opportunity to learn vocational trade skills, gain a qualification and improve their employability whilst volunteering to help their local community.

The majority of young people who take part are typically NEET (not in employment, education or training) or pre-NEET/deemed at risk of becoming NEET. Also, more than 20% of VIY participants are female (at a time when only 1% of tradespeople in the UK are female), 45% identify as BAME (Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic) and 25% have a physical disability, learning difficulty or special education need.

Young volunteers are recruited, and referred into local VIY projects, by organisations that already work with the audiences VIY aims to reach and benefit. These referral partners include Job Centre Plus, alternative education providers, youth work organisations such as Catch22, The Prince’s Trust, The Amber Foundation and YMCA, pupil referral units, local schools and colleges, and youth offending teams.

Case Study "Once you learn a trade, you're okay. You'll always be able to make a living." Kayleigh Morris – a VIY volunteer

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.”

Case Study "I'd never considered learning a trade before doing VIY, but now I have an apprenticeship." Shamak Czachowski – a VIY volunteer

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.

Case Study "I was attracted to the chance of gaining a qualification whilst volunteering and helping the community." Zeeshan Shah – a VIY volunteer

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.

Case Study "VIY inspired me to learn trade skills and gave me the confidence to apply for an apprenticeship." Jordan Smith – a VIY volunteer

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.”