About Trading Places

Trading Places™ is about asking senior executives and others to come and work alongside people with mental health problems or other disadvantages to find out for themselves just what our people can do.
We want senior executives to go back to their own company or organisation excited at the prospect of doing something good e.g. look at ways to support FST by trading with us.

Trading with FST helps us provide real work experience and on the job training and sustainable employment opportunities for people who have been unemployed for many years because of their mental health problems and other disadvantages.

You may also want to consider sponsoring some of the work we do e.g. driving lessons.
We run our own driving school staffed by people with lived experience.
Sponsoring lessons helps us provide access to a high quality training programme that leads to a full UK Driving License for most candidates.
” – Ronnie Wilson MBE Chief Executive First Step Trust

Get involved in Trading Places™

 SMaRT® garage services 

We offer Trading Places® in our garage at Woolwich where you will be kitted out in some overalls, boots and put to work in the garage alongside our senior technician and trainees. During your stint you will get the chance to work on real customers’ vehicles doing an oil change, full service or even a tyre change. Getting first hand experience of a work placement at SMaRT. ®

 I spent the day at SMaRT ® garages. It was an insightful and interesting opportunity particularly to see the impact the project is having on the lives of young people who have experienced mental health issues and not just rehabilitating them, but increasing their aspirations and sense of value has been very powerful. – Danny Thorpe Council Leader of Royal Borough of Greenwich

“I enjoyed taking part in Trading Places® It gave me an opportunity to help a social enterprise. It was great to go and get my hands dirty, fixing a car and making it roadworthy. It was a great thing to do, completely different from my normal day job. It was brilliant to come and watch amazing work in helping people get back into the workplace. It’s a much-needed service.” David Reid, Technical Specialist, Microsoft


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Abbevilles restaurant

We also offer stints at our restaurant Abbevilles in Clapham Common that’s recently been converted into a Fish & Chip shop. During your stint you can either work in the kitchen preparing customer orders, from battering fish to making homemade products from our menu, or you may be helping the kitchen team prepare for a catering event. Either one, you will be working alongside the chef and the workforce.

“I loved working with all the people. It’s a real kitchen and the guys are just amazing. Social enterprises such as First Step Trust provide equal to or even better quality at the same time as putting something back in to the society. The individuals here are passionate about what they do and the jobs they do and the benefits they get are critical to their wellbeing.” Geoff Streetley, Managing Director of Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company

If you wish to get involved in Trading Places get in touch email: ronnie.wilson@firststeptrust.org.uk or katie.ryan@firststeptrust.org.uk