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Wickes up-skilling the youth

Published: 5 December 2012
Wickes has been using the expertise of its trade customers to benefit local communities and tackle youth unemployment through its work with the Volunteer It Yourself project.
Wickes up-skilling the youth
It sees local tradespeople mentor young people to develop building and DIY skills while repairing local youth centres. All building and DIY materials are donated by Wickes; the retailer recruits the tradesmen mentors through its local stores.

Initially piloted in London, the programme has been so successful it is now being rolled out nationally. It was even recently recognised by the Prime Minister with a Big Society Award. With many of the young participants NEET (not in education, employment or training) the programme is an opportunity for them to gain an insight into the building trade and boost self-esteem.

Since the VIY scheme began its London pilots last year, 49 young people have earned a qualification as a result of their involvement, of which 30 have progressed to further training opportunities and apprenticeships.

It also holds benefits for the tradespeople involved, says Wickes, who recently conducted a 'Voice of the British Buildling Trade' report that revealed young people "have difficulty accessing a future in the building industry". Wickes says the scheme "is a great way for tradespeople to reach out to [these young people]."

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