A Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) programme involving nearly 2,000 young people aged 14 and up across the country launched last week with the backing of Wickes, which has dedicated its tradespeople to train and mentor the participants.
The programme aims to give youngsters the chance to gain accredited construction and DIY skills while refurbishing their local youth centres. Boosted by a £940,000 Big Lottery Fund grant, the scheme will also benefit from hundreds of DIY tools and materials donated by Wickes.
Wickes brand director Tony Holdway said: "Last month, government figures revealed that the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds not in education, employment or training has risen by 8%. In parallel we know that although 60% of tradespeople entered the trade through being an apprentice, a staggering 82% do not currently employ one.
"The VIY project bridges these two problems and provides an effective solution, training apprentice-ready young people to address a specific industry need. British tradesmen have a wealth of knowledge and experience and at Wickes we are passionate about safeguarding this for the next generation of tradesmen.
"This project not only helps rejuvenate youth clubs in need, it also capitalises on the expertise and generosity of our country's local tradesmen who are at the core of their communities."