Blend of skill with tools of the trade

James Vint of Lower Largo in the  toolshed project for Africa
James Vint of Lower Largo in the toolshed project for Africa

A TALENTED tradesman is helping others as well as himself, having built a new career after illness.

James Vint has recently been appointed as toolshed project officer in a scheme which benefits Fife ventures – as well as others in Africa.

James, of Lower Largo, has brought a lifetime of technical experience to the post and is now keenly sharing his knowledge with others.

A skilled plasterer, James had hoped to return to work after a heart attack but found he was unable to go back to his trade.

He wanted to use his skills and feel valued, but was left wondering how he could resume employment.

He got in touch with Fife Employability Team (FET) via Fife’s social work services – and he now heads the toolshed team at the Ecology Centre in Kinghorn.

It gathers donations of old or unwanted tools from the community and refurbishes them before they are redeployed with local projects – or sent to Africa, via the international organisation ‘Tools for Self Reliance’.

There, the tools restored by the Fife experts have helped African tradesmen with a host of practical projects.

James said: “I had no idea how massive and important the voluntary sector is. I now find myself in the enviable position of seeing my work as something I really enjoy and not just a means to an end.”

He added he was grateful to FET for helping him rediscover work.

Jo Hobbett from the Ecology Centre said: “We need more volunteers with an interest in tools to get involved and share their skills but anyone wanting to try something new is also welcome, as James will be on hand to support new volunteers.”

James’ post is funded by the Change Fund, to promote planning for an active and healthy retirement and encourage inter-generational learning.