It’s been 12 months since we officially launched yes!
It’s been an incredible year. Over 12,000 people have used our facility in Newton Heath, and we’ve directly helped 120 people to land a job or get into training. To celebrate, we caught up with four of the first customers we ever helped to see how they’re getting on one year down the line. Zach, Habib, Kersha and Teresa all started apprenticeships at Manchester Working. Here’s their stories…
With a string of different jobs behind him, Zach believes he’s finally found the ideal industry for him. Last year, the 20-year-old began an apprenticeship as an Estimator with Manchester Working, which carries out repairs, maintenance and improvements to properties across the city.
“I just like everything about the job,” he said. “I used to have jobs that I hated, but it’s different here. I’ve got the pleasure of working with some great people. I feel valued.
“I like the construction industry a lot more than I thought I would. I used to think it was just people being told to put bricks here or there, but it’s a lot more complex than that.”
Zach, of Newton Heath, is responsible for carrying out site visits, meeting with clients and sub-contractors, evaluating the company’s work and keeping costs in check. He’s currently working towards completing an NVQ Level 3 in Construction Management, and was nominated as The Manchester College’s ‘Trainee of the Year’!
After finding himself homeless, Habib is enjoying his first steps on a career path he hopes will lead to his dream of developing homes for others.
Following a fall-out with family, the 28-year-old lived on the streets of London before starting a new life in Manchester. He turned to yes for help finding a job and began an apprenticeship with Manchester Working as a painter and decorator.
One year on, Habib has nearly completed his first year of an NVQ in the skill. He’s now planning to return to yes for help plotting the next move in his journey to becoming a property developer: launching his own decorating business.
He said: “Back in the day, I couldn’t keep a job for six months, let alone a year. I used to mess around, but now I take pride in my work.
“Every day, you pick up new things. I like moving from site to site and learning new skills from people who’ve been doing the trade for years. Because I want to learn it, I focus more on the people who are teaching me.”
Habib, who now lives in Newton Heath, has come a long way from when he first started. “I’ve had my disasters,” he said. “Once, I put the wrong paper up in one room, and in another, I put undercoat on the ceiling instead of emulsion!
“But practice makes perfect. Brushwork is just second nature to me now.”
A visit to yes led to a big change in career for Theresa after landing a role as a Trainee Planner for Manchester Working.
“I used to work in administration,” she said, “but the technical skills I’ve learned here have helped me take a big step in a new direction.”
Teresa is currently working towards completing an NVQ Level 3 in Construction in the Built Environment. She’s one of the only women on her course.
“I think it’s nice to have a woman’s touch in construction,” she said. “The industry is very different to what I’ve done before, but I’ve enjoyed learning new things, like working in procurement and buying materials.”
A year after a trip to yes helped Kersha find a job with Manchester Working, the teenager is really enjoying the benefits of a regular wage.
She said: “My friends may have more spare time than me, but I’ve got a lot more money than them for going out with!”
Kersha, of Blackley, became an Admin Assistant for Manchester Working and is studying towards an NVQ in Customer Service.
“I’ve become a lot more confident than I was in college,” she said. “I feel like I’ve matured more. I think it comes from working with lots of different people, some a lot older than me.”
The 18-year-old found it easy to settle into the role. “I’d only just come out of college when I started,” she said, “so I picked things up really quickly because I was used to learning.
“The best bit is that I get to do different things every day, from data entry to raising jobs with the operatives.
“I really enjoy the job and hope to stay doing admin in the future.”