YMCA Case study

Mitch was part of the 2015 Working Assets Programme and describes his journey below.

Beginning my YMCA Journey

Hello, my name is Mitch and I live at the YMCA Derbyshire Campus in Derby. In 2015, I spent 25 weeks on the Working Assets Programme at Toyota UK.

I arrived at the YMCA on 9 December 2014 in a very depressed state and spent the first 3 weeks alone in my room.  Gradually, with the help of staff at YMCA Derbyshire, I started meeting people and doing activities.  I volunteered in the kitchens, started playing football for the YMCA Derbyshire team, they even made me captain.

I then got involved in Derby County Football Club’s Achieve FC Sports Leadership Programme and a similar Homeless FA Programme where we got the chance to meet Prince William at the headquarters of the English Football Association in Burton.


Meeting My Toyota Family

It was during this time that David Finn from the YMCA Derbyshire approached me and said he thought the Toyota Programme would really suit me.  I didn’t know anything about it but we had a couple of information meetings and the Toyota staff came to meet us at the Campus.  They seemed very friendly and they came on a residential with the group at Edale in the Peak District.

The group of 10 YMCA Derbyshire residents all looked forward to starting the programme at the beginning of June 2015.  We haven’t been disappointed.  The Working Assets Programme has been brilliant and the staff at Toyota have been very supportive.


On my Toyota Journey

All of us who graduated may have had tough moments on the programme.  We have all, at times, felt we couldn’t meet some of the challenges presented to us.  But the support we have received from the Toyota and YMCA Derbyshire staff gave us the confidencene to complete the programme.  We have all learnt so much about the Toyota company, culture, how you need to conduct yourself at work and what it takes to work on the assembly line.

During the programme, we have improved our skills in:-

  • Maths, English and Employability
  • Planning and organising
  • How to manage change
  • Producing a CV

Most importantly, we have all had over 120 hours of work experience in various part of the Toyota site.  I completed mine at Green Metals, Toyota’s recycling contractors.  It was brilliant.  They were a great team and they taught me so much about recycling and gave me a wide range of experience, all of which I was able to put on my CV.

My friends on the programme had similar positive experiences in catering, security, IT and maintenance.


Reaching my Destination

We have all improved our self confidence; I am not the same person who walked into the YMCA in December 2015.

I recently got some really positive news.  Having attended an interview at Green Metals, following my work placement, I am pleased to say that I will shortly start a full-time job with them.  This could not have happened without this programme, so, on behalf of every young person who has taken part in the Working Assets Programme, a very big thank you to everyone here for giving us this brilliant opportunity.