Tools For Life

A 3-month mentoring programme

Tools For Life 1

Tools for Life is ETL’s three month long mentorship programme that teaches young people (16+) who face barriers to employment with the basic and fundamental skills of woodworking and DIY.

The aim of this personal programme is to empower the participants and boost their confidence while gaining new life skills, experience and exposure to opportunities in community building projects.

Application Form

Next cohort starting in September!

Tools For Life 2
Our workshops are fully kitted with all the woodworking tools you need.

If you are or know of a young person/s who could benefit from this programme, please share the opportunity. Applications for the fall edition are now open. Apply today!

We are always very happy to talk you through your application and give feedback. If you prefer a different format of answering the application form, for example in audio or video format, you are very welcome to do so.

Tools for Life Programme Details

  • The Autumn 2024 Tools For Life programme starts on Thursday, 5th September.
  • The programme is 12-weeks long.
  • Sessions are on Thursdays 13.00 – 16.00 (3 hours). Participants must be able to attend every session and may only miss two sessions to pass this course, excluding unavoidable circumstances (e.g. illness) therefore please think about your prior commitments before applying.
  • Open to young people age 16 – 24 years old and who call Edinburgh home.
  • Free! We do ask each participant to support us with their testimonials and feedback on how this programme has been beneficial for them.
  • Space is limited! Only 3 individuals are selected for the Mentorship Programme

Application process

Emoji hand with spanner

Application deadline: Tuesday 25th June!

We will invite participants for an interview mid July – date still to be announced.

Have questions or want to see the workshop before applying? 
Contact and we happily arrange something.

Application Form

Charitable Programmes 6
Our TFL team have also built a dozen Little Free Libraries, which you will find all round the city.

Tools for Life participant

“It’s good to feel part of your community, help that community, and meet lots of interesting people.”

Support worker of Tools for Life participant

One of the young people I support, took part in the Tools for Life project.  He enjoys woodworking and learning new skills. He does, however, have a bit of anxiety when beginning a new course and was a little anxious. The course leaders immediately put him at ease. They were extremely skilled, not only in woodworking, but as importantly, they put the trainees at ease, made it fun, as well as educational and soon he was attending by himself. I cannot recommend this project enough. The staff are brilliant and the people on the course are supported to learn new skills and feel comfortable in the environment created for them.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the programme consist in?

Duration: 1 session a week for 12 weeks 

Time: 3 hours 

Week 1 to 6 – Workshop time 

The first six weeks focuses on the workshop and learning the use of tools and machines whilst constructing items for your own home. Basic woodworking skills is at the core of these sessions, learning all about material use and how to approach a new building project. 

Week 7 to 12 – Out in the community 

The second half focuses on bringing your new learned skills into action for the community. In collaboration with community projects, the TFL team works on some specific building projects further developing your skills together and learning how to approach commission work.

There is opportunity for a professional workshop tour and to visit maker spaces in the city. We also offer ample signposting for further learning and employment opportunities. 

What are the age brackets?

Tools for Life is suitable for young people who are 16 – 24 years old. It could either be for someone starting their working career path, someone changing career paths or someone looking for more experience in the field. As the programme is focused on woodwork and  

What do you consider a barrier to employment?

We believe that the following can be barriers that can unfairly hinder someone’s ability to get a job, or stay in employment: 

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Employment gaps
  • Housing issues
  • Financial troubles
  • Childcare
  • Lack of skills and training
  • Little or no work experience
  • Gaps in education
Can the participants still be in school?

Yes, participants can still be in school and we hope that this programme would especially be beneficial for school pupils that are on a part-time timetable.

Is the programme free?

Yes! We are very happy to offer this programme for free with the support from the Essentia Foundation & Dr Guthrie Association. But we do ask each participant to support us with their testimonials and feedback on how this programme has been beneficial for them and help promote the programme by being stars on our socials. 

For any other questions, please contact

George the router

Meet Fran our mascot

So far, Fran the Router has supported twelve trainees to graduate through our program, with many more to come. Will you be part of their journey?