19 December 2017

The achievements of four young people from YMCA Derbyshire have been recognised through a graduation ceremony at Toyota’s Burnaston plant.

The students have each completed the pioneering Working Assets Programme (WAP), an initiative funded by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Charitable Trust, and delivered by the Foyer Federation.

The celebration event on 13 December, brought together the students, their placement mentors and representatives from YMCA Derbyshire. The students presented an overview of their experiences and were awarded certificates by Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) Ltd.

Drew, a 17 year old YMCA Derbyshire resident who graduated, said: “This was the highest quality work experience in a professional business setting. I worked with HR experts, which helped me to gain the skills I needed to gain employment. I am very happy to say that I have now been offered a HR apprenticeship that I will start in January.”

The six-month WAP offers young people, who have faced challenging circumstances, an exciting opportunity to enhance their long-term employability. Out of the 20 YMCA students who have successfully completed the full programme, 60% secured work within six months of finishing the programme, and the other 40% continued in meaningful voluntary work.

Christine Gardner, who works in Information Systems at Toyota and is mentor for one of the students, said: “Young people coming into our team changes the dynamics in a positive way, and our colleagues are excited to share their knowledge with those on the programme.”

During the event, Gillian Sewell, YMCA Derbyshire CEO, also presented Toyota with the Foyer Federation ‘2017 Best Partnership Award’ for their outstanding contribution to the programme. Gillian, said: “We are honoured to have partnered with Toyota Manufacturing UK for a fourth consecutive year. This is a powerful collaboration that helps to empower young people to harness their talents and facilitate their transition into employment or education. Our partnership works so well as there is a common drive to improve the lives of young people and create strong communities.”

Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director at TMUK, said: “At Toyota, our ultimate reason to exist is ‘people’, so we support our local community, education through apprenticeships, and also charities. We understand how important it is to engage with, and invest in, young people. This makes us the right place to be.”