Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) is a social action programme that combines volunteering and DIY by identifying local tradespeople to volunteer to mentor young people aged 14-24 in building and construction skills. The programme aims to develop young people’s technical and softer employability skills, through carrying out essential repairs on local youth clubs and community centre buildings. Young people who successfully complete the programme are awarded with City & Guilds vocational accreditations in Employability skills, with different specific units in trade skills, including painting and decorating or plumbing. They are also able to access further training, work placements and apprenticeship opportunities with local employers beyond the project. The programme is run by VIY in collaboration with project partners Wickes, the home improvement retailer (who supply all building materials free of charge) and City & Guilds (who provide the vocational accreditation). The programme also engages local tradespeople who act as mentors for the participants.

The evaluation undertook an initial literature review of employability interventions, to provide context to VIY’s research.  This was followed by five case studies, including interviews with participants and others engaged with the project. Finally, data was collected from participants concerning their self-assessment of their performance on a range of “employability” factors (e.g. interview skills, leadership qualities etc.). This data was collected at the start and end of the programme, as well as a further six weeks to three months follow-up survey.

VIY supported 513  total young people during the evaluation period. 271 individuals were sampled for the evaluation. The post-intervention survey attained 199 responses, with the follow-up recording 97 returns.  Belmana led the evaluation and it suggests a positive change over time for the young people that VIY supports.

Evaluation of Volunteer It Yourself for VIY, Nesta and the Cabinet Office