YMCA Wirral is constantly looking at ways to help our people break cycles of poverty, educational under- achievement, homelessness and reliance on benefits.  Through our programmes we offer the tools to improve their outlook.

Our work supports those who are out of education, under achievers, ex offenders or long term un-employed.  Through all our training we watch change happen.  Every life changed means a great outcome for our communities on Wirral.  So whether we are delivering important life skills training, employability training or positive engagement in volunteering to help others, we know we are helping people move forward with confidence and the ability to live a sustainable independent life.

By providing practical focus, our people can learn new skills and take control of their lives, achieve employment and independent living.

Our person centred training aims to support those with multiple barriers, aiding them to develop the skills they need to escape the benefits system and achieve a financially stronger and happier future.

Helping people gain the confidence to make decisions about their own lives is an important part of our work. As is providing an environment in which they can grow and flourish.

For us, education is more than formal schooling. That’s why we offer a range of education, skills-based training, placement and vocational programmes that inspire individuals in the learning.

At YMCA Wirral, we believe in a world in which every homeless person has the opportunity to participate in quality education and learning activities to help them achieve their goals to move on. Sadly many homeless people have, for reasons beyond their control, missed out on varying amounts of schooling and education and lack the necessary qualifications for sustained employment. Many have bad experiences of training courses, or mainstream adult learning that didn’t cater for their needs.

As a result they can lose essential self-confidence and lack purpose for improving their prospects. For others, the experience of homelessness has de-skilled and isolated them and the majority are caught in a destructive cycle of un-employment, mental health problems, addiction or reoffending which is preventing them taking control of their lives and moving on.

YMCA Wirral is an accredited training provider with Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Marine Industries, Highfield and NCFE.

We offer individual support and a friendly environment where residents can reach their full potential.  Our courses are flexible and tailored to the needs of the individual, so they start all the year round so there is no need for anyone to wait.

The courses we offer have been specifically proven to offer maximum opportunities of employment in areas where jobs are known to exist – catering and hospitality, retailing and customer service and motor and allied trades.  Using a “staged progression” approach, the training is small “bite sized” half and one day units that enable trainees with short term priorities to still be able to participate and remain interested in elements of learning.

We offer a variety of courses including support for English, Maths and Computer skills to up-skill an individual or just refresh their memory and build up their confidence levels.

Each course combines small group classroom learning in one of our well equipped modern training rooms at our Whetstone Lane site with volunteering and work placements alongside qualified professionals where trainees learn practical skills. This is especially effective for those trainees who prefer to be hands on and learn through experience and they all help when it comes to looking for employment.

For each individual, we aim to build up a portfolio of certificated training matched to volunteering and hands on vocational training,

Anyone entering accommodation at YMCA Wirral can access any or all of the courses and “life-skills” training we offer, however once a person has progressed from “high support” to “semi-independent living” they will be expected to sign up to and engage positively in training.

Many of our people have been failed by the education system, family issues or opportunity to access training and as such, we have aimed to encompasses a range of soft education themes into each course, that focus on three key areas of an individual – basic academic skills, thinking skills and personal qualities – all key aspects of a sound foundation in developing a work ethic.

Basic Academy Skills

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Listening

Thinking Skills

  • Learning
  • Reasoning
  • Creativity
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving

Personal Qualities

  • Responsibility
  • Self Confidence
  • Self Control
  • Social Skills
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Adaptable
  • Flexible
  • Team Spirit
  • Punctuality
  • Good Work Attitude
  • Appearance
  • Co-Operative
  • Self Motivation

With few formal records to build a Record of Achievement, a homeless person faces a number of barriers at being able to compete in the jobs market.  By gaining four or five of our accredited courses and by applying themselves to a programme of volunteering and work experience they can greatly enhance their chances at gaining that all important interview.


Research by Crisis shows that the vast majority – (87%) of homeless people do not currently do any voluntary work.

Those who currently do some voluntary work were identified as more likely to be currently participating or had participated in training/educational activities in the last five years than those who have not participated in the past five years (26% and 22% compared to 6%).

Those who had educational qualifications at level two and above were more likely to do voluntary work.

Those who were volunteering and who were interviewed in research stated that they helped other homeless people with drug issues or literacy skills.

At YMCA Wirral we run a dedicated Volunteering programme staffed by a Volunteer Co-ordinator.  We run a range of community and environmental based voluntary projects – Street Y’s, Garden Y’s and Y Cruise.  These projects aim to get people outdoors and doing positive things in the community.  Additionally we also operate “in-house” vocational training within the YMCA.  Volunteers receive recognition and reward in a number of ways and also receive three awards – Bronze for 25 hours volunteering, Silver for 50 hours and Gold for 100 plus hours.  Add these certificates to a range of employability related certificates and participants gain a competitive edge in job applications and employment.

Accredited Training Courses:

Level 1 and Level 2 Food Hygiene Course – 1 Day

Manual Handling Course – ½ Day

Level 1 Introduction to Health and Safety – 1 Day

Customer Service and Customer Care – 1 Day

Basic Motor Vehicle Mechanics and Vehicle Maintenance – 8 weeks – one day per week

Foundation Course in Catering and Hospitality – 8 weeks – one day per week

Boat Maintenance and Marine Training – 1 Day

Basic Horticulture and Plant Care – 4 Half Days