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.

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.

Check out the projects in your area and get your young people involved here

VIY Peer Mentors "They stepped up from volunteer to Peer Mentor really well." Liam & Kelsie

Liam Bensley and Kelsie Ferguson both joined us at our Community Hub project at East Norfolk College. Liam, who was unemployed at the time, was referred into VIY via the local DWP, Kelsie a student at the college looking for different skills and volunteering opportunities over the summer. Having enjoyed the VIY experience so much, and impressing our mentors along the way, both returned to our Gorleston Community Room project in partnership with Orbit Housing. Since, both Liam and Kelsie have received paid work with VIY as Peer Mentors on three further projects across Norfolk, helping to teach other young volunteers just like them, alongside Jasper and Matt, our Lead Mentors in Norfolk.

They’ve achieved seven City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations between them, Liam achieving an additional qualification in pipework.

VIY Lead Mentor, Simon Kitson, one of the key mentors who have helped develop the pair through multiple VIY projects, said: “They’ve both really stepped up from volunteer to Mentor really well, which can sometimes be a tricky transition. Not only that, I taught Kelsie how to saw some wood and the next week she was putting this learning into action, teaching another young volunteer in the exact same way! The true role of a VIY Peer Mentor.”

A repeat volunteer "Construction is now something I want to go into." Kyle O’Gorman

Kyle came on board as part of his employability programme with Hatch through UK Youth. Working on our cricket club programme, started in 2022 in partnership with the GMCA, Lancashire Cricket Foundation and the ECB, Kyle has now returned to two back to back projects across Greater Manchester. Starting at Blackley Cricket Club, he’s been there from start to finish, fully present and even offered to come and help out for an extra week when the project ran over. He’s gained three City & Guilds accreditations with us in Painting & Decorating, Health & Safety and Carpentry. He was even voted Volunteer of the Month by one of the programme partners, Lancashire Cricket Foundation, and received tickets to a cricket match at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Here’s what he had to say about volunteering on the project: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at VIY, the project has come out really well, and looks so much different to how it started. I’m really looking forward to the next project and gaining my third qualification with VIY in carpentry. Construction is something I want to go into now.”

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.”