1,000th accredited young graduate on VIY

Tuesday 27th May 2014


The national VIY Volunteer It Yourself project, co-created and delivered by Cospa, recently celebrated its 1,000th young participant to successfully attain an entry level City & Guilds building and construction skills qualification.

VIY challenges young people to fix local youth club buildings in urgent need of repair and to learn practical trade and building skills in the process. The young people are mentored on the job by local tradespeople, who also volunteer their time, and can earn a vocational qualification and progress to work placement and apprenticeship opportunities with local employers.

The national roll-out of the project – in partnership with Wickes, Big Lottery Fund, City & Guilds, London Youth and other regional youth organisations – has just reached the end of its second year and, to date, 59 clubs have participated and benefited throughout England and Wales.

Over the past two years, 1,299 young people aged 14-17 have taken part, of whom 1,047 have now gone on to attain the City & Guilds qualification. Furthermore, to date, 96 VIY graduates have directly progressed to paid work placements and apprenticeships as a direct result of their participation in the project. At the same time, 293 local tradespeople and Wickes staff have volunteered in total more than 9,000 hours on the project as skills mentors.

Over the course of the past two years VIY has also been recognised with a number of awards, including Best Collaborative Project, Best Community Engagement Project and The Grand Prix at The Corporate Engagement Awards, and a Big Society Award from The Prime Minister.

Danny, the 1,000th accredited VIY graduate (pictured, centre), from Windmill Youth Centre in Birmingham, sums up the project’s value and impact: “I come to the club almost every day and I wanted to do this project because it helps the club but also gave me the chance to get a qualification. It feels like real work and different to trying to learn something at school or college.”

Plans for the continued development and expansion of VIY over 2014-16 will be announced shortly.