17 January 2019

Following completion of a 24-week structured work preparation programme at Toyota Manufacturing UK’s Burnaston HQ, four young people supported through YMCA Derbyshire have positively transformed their lives.

With an unprecedented 100% attendance rate, the students have each successfully completed the innovative Working Assets Programme (WAP). The initiative is funded Toyota, YMCA Derbyshire and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Charitable Trust.

The WAP aims to aid YMCA Derbyshire residents on their journey through offering employment experience in Toyota’s supply chain and training over a six-month period. During this time, students develop their skills and learn what it would be like to work in a large organisation. They complete numeracy, literacy and presentation skills, as well as personal development, interview preparation and CV writing. A vital part of the programme is hands-on work experience, which is completed onsite two days per week for seven weeks.

Paddy Steele completed the programme with experience at Green Metals Recycling, an on-site waste management company for post-production materials. At the end-of-course celebration event at Toyota in December, Paddy said that as a result of his participation, he had developed “more confidence and the understanding of what it means to at work again”. His main ‘takeaway’ had been “friendship and working in a team”. Paddy is now working for Green Metals full-time and has moved out from YMCA Derbyshire to live independently.

Mel Reilly worked at Sodexo Catering, a Toyota supplier, during her programme. Mel ‘hit the ground running’ from her first day in the restaurant and after 14 hours on shift, was offered a job with the team! This marks the quickest placement ever since the programme was launched five years ago. Mel said, “I’d advise any YMCA resident to go for it and take part. I’m now in a good place and looking for my own house.” Jane Pearce, Account Manager at Sodexo Catering, said “I am pleased to be part of this programme. This year has been particularly successful as we could offer Mel a full-time job before the end of the programme.”

Marvin Cooke, Managing Director, Toyota Manufacturing UK, presented the young people with their certificates at the celebration event following an overview of their journeys. He said, “We have many partnerships, and this one for me is perhaps the most rewarding. In six months, what our students have achieved is remarkable; this is an experience that none of us will ever forget.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), have agreed to support a continuation of the programme for 2019 following a presentation from this year’s students to the SMMT board on their achievements.