Berkay Gurkar talks about 2Work and the difference it's made to him
Berkay is from Tottenham and volunteered as part of VIY’s refurbishment project at the Eric Allin Community Centre.
He started with VIY in September 2015 and very quickly earned his City & Guilds plumbing and tiling qualifications. He then used these new skills to help refurbish the centre’s kitchen, working with others to install new worktops and cupboards, as well as learning how to fit a replacement sink and tap.
Shortly after his volunteering, Berkay was recommended for an interview with VIY’s long-term supporter Wickes. They provide all the tools and materials for the project free of charge. They were so impressed with his knowledge of the trade and eagerness to learn more that they offered him a full-time job in their Tottenham store. However, Berkay was keen to pursue his learning even further, and also enrolled on a part-time Level 3 gas safety course at Barrett-Bell’s college.
As a result of all his hard work, Berkay was chosen to speak at a special event hosted at City Hall to celebrate 2Work young people giving back to their communities. Berkay was chosen as he's an outstanding VIY participant and ambassador. When he started the project he was 23, unemployed and looking for work and now 24, juggling a full-time job and further education.
When I heard about the project I was unemployed at the time and thought it could be a useful way of learning some new skills that might help me back into work. This was the first volunteering project I’d ever been part of and it’s definitely something I hope to carry on doing in the future. It was very rewarding to use my skills to help the community. It also brought a group of young people together who had never met before and we’ve now become friends as a result of this project. Berkay Gurkar.
Berkay interviewed for a position at Wickes Tottenham a while before he started volunteering with VIY and, at the time, I felt he wasn’t quite ready for a role in the store. However, I am so pleased that he was brave enough to interview again after taking part in VIY and he has been a brilliant addition to the team. He has good product knowledge and is very comfortable communicating with customers. The extra skills and confidence he has gained from being part of VIY has really impressed me and hopefully he can keep developing more skills with us in the future. Darren Reid, Wickes Tottenham.
2Work is an employment support programme for young Londoners aged 18-24 who are not currently in education, training or employment. Through a combination of high-quality volunteering opportunities and training opportunities, 2Work equips young Londoners with the skills, confidence and experience that they need to enter employment, education or training.