In Impact Stories, Life skills, education & employability, Aylesbury Vale

Project: Building project for unemployed and/or disengaged young people
Grant: £4,650
Fund: #iwill

VIY challenges young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and employability skills through helping to fix local youth and community facilities in need of essential repairs and improvements.

This grant has been used to co-fund a project enabling 23 vulnerable and/or disadvantaged young people who are not in employment, education or training to develop new vocational skills and improve their work-readiness and employability prospects.

The project involved the participants learning trade and building skills whilst helping, as volunteers, to construct and fit out a new build house in Waddesdon over a seven month period. The participants were mentored by a team of local professional tradespeople and had the chance, if they wished, to work towards achieving an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds skills qualification.

Of the 23 young people who participated in the project, all of them were first time volunteers and had not previously engaged in social action. 13 of the 23 young volunteers remained engaged throughout the entire seven-month project period and gained the City & Guilds qualification. In total, more than 1,000 volunteer hours were contributed by the young people involved.

The project also served to induct and train a cohort of young people who will work with VIY and Aylesbury Youth Concern later this year to develop their skills further and convert Merryville House, an empty property in Aylesbury, into new supported accommodation for ten young people.

From the 23 participants, 10 had not previously achieved any form of training qualification and five have since progressed into sustained employment and come off work-related benefits (June 2019).

Case study

24-year-old Ben was referred into the project by Youth Concern. Ben struggled at school and had been unemployed for two years. He ultimately contributed 60+ volunteer hours to the project, achieved multiple City & Guilds trade skills accreditations, and successfully progressed into a job at a fibreglass factory in Aylesbury. He also still volunteers with VIY as a peer mentor.

Ben said: “VIY has meant I can make up for what I missed out on at school or college. It’s also very motivating because you can help others and your community whilst helping yourself.”

The project was also visited by TV presenter Guy Martin and filmed by Channel 4 for Guy’s Building Britain series which highlights the growing skills gap in the UK in the building and construction trades. The 10-minute film can be viewed here.