Mandy-Jayne Evans, Senior Specialist in Training & Development, runs Toyota’s Working Assets Programme. Here, she tells Education for Everybody about how the car giant is helping disadvantaged youngsters to succeed by giving them employment experience and training during its six-month course.
How long has Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) been helping disadvantaged youngsters in the UK?
TMUK have been supporting disadvantaged young people via the Foyer Federation and The YMCA for the past five years.
How does the "Working Assets Programme” run?
The programme is currently running in operation with YMCA Derbyshire. The young people selected to attend must be prepared to be challenged and committed to the lengthy programme. In advance they complete an activity to prepare and confirm their commitment and readiness for the programme. Previously, the young people have completed volunteering projects in the community including a nursery re-vamp and at the YMCA allotment as examples.
Those who commit to the programme will complete a 24-week structured programme to develop their skills and to learn what it would be like to work in a large organisation. During the time at TMUK in Burnaston, Derbys, 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; this is completed onsite two days per week for seven weeks. The participants have the opportunity to work in different areas of the business which best match their needs and type of work they would like to achieve. This year the work experience included catering and vending, human resources, information systems and within the training department.
They also complete a number of presentations, the main one being to the board at the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders HQ in London. The event also celebrates and recognises their journey and achievement.
How has the Working Assets Programme changed over time?
Following the Toyota principle of kaizen (Japanese for "change for better”), reflection is completed with the YMCA and the young people from each programme after speaking with the participants.
One example of change is we reduced the number of weeks to 26 to 22 weeks by increasing the hours worked each day to give the experience of a typical working day. The reduction length in the programme also allows the young people to seek employment or a training programme sooner.
What do the youngsters get out of the Working Assets Programme?
They have told us:
- Dignity and respect because they are treated as any other young person and as a Toyota employee.
- They are treated without any judgement of why they are being supported by the YMCA – which is not usual for them.
- The structured training equips them to have belief and confidence in their own ability and the desire to be successful.
- The programme makes a difference to their life and their thoughts of the future.
- During interviews prospective employers were very interested in the programme and said that working at TMUK was a great addition to their CVs.
Can you give an example of a youngster who has benefitted from the Working Assets Programme?
Of the 2017 programme, which finished in December, Drew worked in TMUK’s HR Administration department and successfully obtained a HR apprenticeship in a local company in Derby and moved out of the YMCA accommodation.
Jincy completed her computing degree in India and was unable to find a job which supported her qualifications. She was completing voluntary work to boost her CV but was lacking real work experience and confidence. Recently, she has gained paid employment in the computer department of a local hospital.