Toolstation is supporting the Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) social enterprise as it makes a bid to help more young people learn construction industry skills.

The initiative combines DIY and volunteering and challenges young people to help repair and refurbish community facilities while learning vocational trade skills on the job, helping them become more employable in the construction sector.

The move comes against a backdrop of a shortage of workers in the industry. The Office of National Statistics revealed that employment in the sector fell from 2.3 million in 2017 to 2.1 million at the end of 2020, a fall of 4%.

Toolstation’s first project saw 28 volunteers, aged between 14-24 years old, the majority of whom are disengaged or excluded from mainstream education and training, create a new outdoor social and exercise space at Coventrians Rugby Football Club. They repaved an existing patio, built and fenced a new pagoda and redecorated the changing room.

Toolstation funds the City & Guilds accreditations, skills training, and mentoring of the volunteers. Alongside Toolstation, Travis Perkins also continued their ongoing support for VIY, donating building materials and tools for the project, PPE, and other consumables.

Twenty-six of the volunteers earned an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds Accreditation, and four of the young people from the special educational needs provision earned multiple accreditations. In total, the group spent 420 hours on this project learning hands-on skills and gaining meaningful work experience. 

Greg Richardson from Toolstation said: “We are really proud to support the Volunteer It Yourself programme and to help young people learn practical trade and building skills and earn an entry level qualification. The construction sector is facing a shortage of workers and we hope that our support in this initiative will inspire more young people to consider entering the trades.”

Toolstation plans on funding a further six VIY projects throughout the year and aims to help over 150 young people gain qualifications and consider a career in the trades.