Yasmin Lamb at the East Cleveland Youth Housing Trust

I turned up Sunday evening, nervous, with only a vague idea of what to expect when I arrived but I was offered a warm welcome by Sarah and Sean who I was staying with and felt at ease straight away! A big part of a CAP placement is spending the time away from home but I shouldnâ€â„¢t have worried, I was settled in quickly and felt ready to face any challenges ahead!

Sarah works with ECYHT (East Cleveland Youth Housing Trust) which I found to be an amazing initiative! It involves renovating and refurbishing empty or community property which in itself is a good scheme, making an area more attractive, but it also helps to house local young people where there is little affordable, quality housing available. It doesnâ€â„¢t stop there however; the work itself is achieved by local young people, giving them the opportunity to develop practical skills in various building trades, some using the scheme to help towards an NVQ.

I worked with Sarah in one site in Lingdale throughout my two weeks and saw firsthand some great leadership skills. Building is a trade often dominated by men and yet Sarah provided strong guidance to both the lads and I. There was a sense of mutual respect and no-one felt uncomfortable in asking for help or advice. I personally held no previous experience of the building trade and had never been on a building site before but this didnâ€â„¢t stop me getting involved! The lads and Sarah were very patient in letting me try new things like plaster boarding and sanding skirting boards and I saw how important communication and teamwork were onsite. Working towards a common goal heightened the will to achieve and when someone places trust in a young person, contrary to modern press, they are driven by the wish to impress themselves and those around them by succeeding. I realised this by feeling it myself.

Throughout my placement I had a lot of fun both onsite and off. Sarah and Sean provided me with a whole heap of things to do including going to Whitby, Bowling (although I did need the bumpers up), walking along Saltburn pier which I was reliably informed was the last remaining Victorian pleasure pier on the North East coast and walking up Roseberry Topping (which was tiring but had great views) . All these things and more made my experience all the better and I canâ€â„¢t thank Sean and Sarah enough for making it so happy and enjoyable.

Everything I witnessed and took part in on my CAP placement has provided me with some sort of experience which will aid me at some point in my life, be it practical skills or just confidence in my own abilities. I donâ€â„¢t think I stopped smiling for two weeks.

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