No home – no jobWeb photo - Farhiya

Farhiya had a degree but like many young people found it very difficult to find work. Employers wanted experience as well as qualifications. With no work, she could not afford to rent accommodation and at 28 was too old to be a priority for the council. She slept on friends’ sofas. A place at a YMCA West London housing project gave her the stability and support she needed to break out of the “no home – no job” cycle.

Getting experience

She wanted to use her time in a positive way and get some experience that would help her find a job.  YMCA West London’s Marketing and Communications team needed help and she got involved with marketing, fundraising and events. She organised the YMCA’s Sleep Easy fundraising events, phoning local schools and encouraging them to participate, gave a radio interview and even spoke at Harrow School about the problems faced by young people today. She organised an Easter and Summer Fair and became a much valued member of the team. She worked over 1,000 hours as a volunteer.

Today she has a full-time job as a marketing officer. Without the experience gained through volunteering, she would not even have been able to apply.