VIY mentor shortlisted for Team London Awards

Wednesday 23rd July 2014


One of the lead skills mentors on the VIY Volunteer It Yourself programme, created and co-delivered by Cospa, has been shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year at the Team London Awards, hosted by City Hall.

Aitor Fernandez, 36, is a multi-skilled tradesman and over the past year has contributed more than 250 volunteering hours on seven different VIY projects across London.

VIY combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people aged 14-18 across the UK to renovate and fix and local youth club and community centre buildings in need of essential repairs. Programme partners and supporters include Wickes, City & Guilds and Rated People.

The young people are mentored by local professional tradespeople, like Aitor, and work towards a City & Guilds building and construction skills qualification. Ultimately, VIY graduates are connected with further training and employment opportunities beyond the programme.

According to VIY Project Manager at Cospa, Line Algoed: “The majority of the young people who participate in VIY are not in employment or training, or are under-achieving in formal, traditional school and college environments. Aitor’s skill is to help these young people develop in a wider sense alongside the learning of specific vocational trade skills. Prior to taking up his mentoring role on VIY, Aitor had never directly worked with young people, nor did he have any teaching or tutoring experience. VIY has helped him to discover an aptitude in himself to inspire young people to learn new skills and fulfill their potential.”

To date, more than 200 local tradespeople have volunteered on 59 VIY projects across the UK, working with and benefiting 1,300 young people.

Aitor also has recently been appointed as Lead VIY Mentor for London as the programme moves forward this year and beyond.

The winners of the Team London Awards will be announced and presented at City Hall on 17th September 2014.