Youth Mechanics Program

The Toolbox Project


The Toolbox Projects is a social enterprise designed to engage with young people and adults, to educate them in the world or motor mechanics. Based in York and set up by Ivan Milner and Mark Zienko.  


The development of the idea started when they were both employed by York City Council delivering youth work to some of the Cities most hard to reach and vunreble young people. Through this line of work they tinkered with mechanics in session and found that it had a real influence on young poeple and allowed them to engage, educate and develop relationships.


In December 2013 after a combined total of 30 years working for the City of York Council Mark and Ivan decided to take Voluntery redundancy and go it alone to set up The Toolbox Project.


"Its was scary, to think no wage coming in, no security but it just felt right"


In a full workshop sporting tools, bike ramps and project vehicles, they work with young people to teach them the principles of motor mechanics whilst providing a space away from the classroom and life’s rattle and hum.


Ivan and Mark have 30 years of experience between them working with hard to reach and socially excluded young people. They refer to the concept of the Toolbox Project as one that was conceived years ago, but mothballed until now when changes to their work commitments gave them the chance to unearth it from the forgotten draw.  “With all the increasing government cuts on youth provision and with the reductions looking to increase, the timing seemed perfect. We had used a lot of mechanic based projects with our previous roles with great effect – even with the most hard to reach groups and individuals. Everything seemed to fall into place so we decided to take the plunge.”

A Brief History