In January 2019, the Community Trade Hub in Buckhaven opened its doors to clients for the first time, giving people in the area the chance to learn new skills which could help them secure jobs in the construction industry.
Since then, it has changed the lives of more than 100 clients who have received training in various skills, such as tiling and joinery.
Young people who had left school with no qualifications or direction have transformed thanks to spending just a few weeks at the hub.
Just this week, 10 clients started work placements with Robertson Construction.
As well as giving training, the hub has also done a lot of work in the community, giving help to various projects, and has built up partnerships.
Kenny McAllister, founder and director, said the change he sees in some of the young people is “unbelievable”.
“It’s changing people’s lives,” he told the Mail. “One mum said they loved their son, but felt like he was slipping away. They felt they had lost their lad. But within three weeks here they felt they had got him back. He completely changed his life and now he is away working.
“It’s about the individuals in the area. The hub is a community organisation that is there to support people. Youngsters in our area now have a resource like this. The door is always open and they are welcome to come and join us. That’s what we are here for.
““We’re giving them skills for the rest of their life. We’re teaching them manners and respect.”
Kenny admitted that the growth of the hub over the first year had “exceeded” his expectations, and that he was particularly surprised at the level of demand.
The hub itself, the former Free Gardeners Hall, has been transformed since the arrival of the team, with new sections being created and developed to host the various projects.
The latest initiative has seen them link up with Levenmouth Academy to offer more options to students.
Pupils between S2-S6 are being given training at the school and the hub, providing them with skills that could be helpful even if they decide not to enter the construction industry.
However, for those who do have an eye on the industry, the pupils are given advice on what grades are needed to secure a job in the trade, as well as extra support to attain those grades.
Kenny said the school project is the main focus of the Community Trade Hub in 2020 – and that the pupils are just as excited about the new project.
“Everyone is entitled to take part,” he said. “Every time we go to the school, it’s ‘what’s happening with the hub’ and ‘when are we going to the hub’. They are desperate to take part.”
While the trade hub has done a lot of work with young people in Levenmouth, it has also worked with adults.
Kenny is keen to make sure that the trade hub engages with people of all ages and is looking at different courses which could be useful for everyone.
“I want to give people an opportunity at any age,” he said.
“I want to engage with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s.
“We want to promote work with the community, like DIY classes for people who have an interest in doing work in their homes.
“Maybe do it at nights or weekends.”
If you would like find out more about the Community Trade Hub, visit www.facebook.com/communitytradehublimited.