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On 29th November, Asila from YMCA Derbyshire shared her experience of taking part in a 25-week work experience programme with Toyota as part of the Foyer Federation – Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) partnership. We were delighted to hear how well she got on. Read her speech below:

“Can I on behalf of all the students who have taken part in this year’s Working Assets Programme thank both the SMMT Trust and The Foyer Federation for their support of this fantastic programme.

I was lucky enough to be selected along with another 9 residents of YMCA Derbyshire to spend over 40 days spread over 25 weeks at Toyota UK in Derby learning valuable vocational skills and  undertaking 100 hours of work experience.

I can speak for all our Toyota Group and say this has been our best ever experience.

7 of our original group of 10 completed the 25 week programme; 4 of the group achieved 100% attendance and the other 3 only missed 1 session through illness.

This reflects how much we have all enjoyed the programme and how much more confident and job ready we all are.

It also says a lot about the wonderful support and guidance we have received from so many staff at Toyota UK. They have seen us as young people with Assets and potential and challenged us to reach our potential.

6 months ago I would not have been able to stand up here and speak to an audience like you; I would have been too anxious and nervous. This is the confidence the programme has given me and my fellow YMCA Derbyshire residents.

People at Toyota have told me I’m good at what I do; my support workers at the Foyer have seen a positive change in me and this applies to everyone else on this great programme.

I now have a good quality CV which highlights strengths and skills I never knew I had. I have a CV that tells a prospective employer that I have had 100 hours work experience with a top company like Toyota….this is gold dust to me and my fellow residents.

I did my work experience in Toyota’s Training and Development Department specialising in Administration. I loved it and now I have a clear goal to want to develop a career in business administration.

Before going to Toyota I didn’t really have any idea of what I wanted to do.

Many young people living in Foyers are judged negatively before they even step over the threshold of an employer or the Job Centre.

Big Lee over there; one of our Toyota group would spend on average one hour waiting to sign on at the job centre; having turned up on time. One week, we dropped him of at the Job Centre with his Toyota uniform on and he was asked to go to the front of the queue and was in and out in 5 minutes. For us the waiting and the negative judgements are a normal weekly experience.

That is why the opportunity the SMMT and the Foyer Federation have given us is absolutely priceless and it works.

Last year 5 YMCA Derbyshire residents attended the national recognition event to be presented with their certificates. At the time all 5 had been unemployed for over 2 years. I can tell you that all 5 of those residents are now in full time employment and they all say it is because of this fantastic Working Assets Programme. We know all those residents; it was them who encouraged us to take up this wonderful opportunity

Thank you so much for giving us all this wonderful opportunity and for believing we can make positive changes in our lives.”

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