Employment Academy
Tuesday 17 September 2019
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What is the Employment Academy?



The Employment Academy helps people find and sustain employment


The Employment Academy is a flagship project situated in an historic building in Camberwell, South London, helping many thousands of unemployed and economically disadvantaged people find employment. Many of the people using the Employment Academy have experienced periods of homelessness and may be living in temporary accommodation.



It is a community resource


The Employment Academy is a local community resource that includes a cafe facility open to the public. Space within the building is available for community use and the project plays a fundamental role in reducing levels of worklessness and homelessness in London, and specifically in the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. Community groups in Southwark and Lambeth wishing to use space within the building receive discounts on standard rental rates.



It is a collaborative project


The Employment Academy is a broad collaboration which received support throughout the development stage by the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, the Homes and Communities Agency (now part of the Greater London Authority), the Department for Communities and Local Government, local community groups and a range of voluntary and statutory organisations and businesses.

Now fully in operation, the building houses a number of services delivered by eight organisations, which together create a pathway to long-term employment for people using the Employment Academy.



Who is the Employment Academy for?


The Employment Academy focuses on people who are long-term unemployed and need to improve their skills and be given special assistance in connecting with appropriate employers. The key qualification is motivation to improve skills and find work. Typical barriers to securing work such as a limited education, health issues or history of offending are not a bar to accessing the Employment Academy. 




How is the Employment Academy distinctive from other services?




  • It is geared towards meeting the needs of homeless people and the long-term workless across London.
  • It deliberately seeks to involve the local community and is a community resource through the provision of a café and the availability of space for community use, particularly outside working hours.
  • It has a real focus on working with employers, with the aim of helping people into work.
  • It has high expectations on those using the service who will be required to sign up to a plan of how they will use the service and receive time-limited membership to the Employment Academy in return.
  • Those using the service constructively will be able to play a role in developing the programmes and services on offer at the Employment Academy and contribute to the effective management of the building.





Who is based there apart from Thames Reach?

Although some Thames Reach projects are based at the Employment Academy, such as our painting and decorating programme, Moving in Moving On (MIMO), the majority of the space is taken up by other organisations.



Some space within the building is not rented out long-term to a particular organisation but used flexibly by organisations and individuals who can help to get people back into work. This will be shared, bookable space.

There is a cafe facility in the building, run by Brewbird Coffee, which is open to the general public, and out of office hours space is also available to the local community. 




How does the Employment Academy make a difference in the chaotic lives of homeless people?


The chaos in the lives of homeless people is often brought on by their difficult housing circumstances and other unaddressed issues. Where we can help people escape homelessness, we often see behaviour change and enormous progress made. There are plenty of success stories which show us that the task is far from being hopeless. During the development phase, the contractors Lakehouse provided employment and training opportunities for former homeless people within their workforce, so even while it was being constructed, the Employment Academy helped people develop new skills. 




How do you know that your clients want to get work?


Around 10% of Thames Reach’s service users are in work already and within the Thames Reach workforce 22% of staff (around 70 individuals) are former users of services for the homeless. We know from surveys of the people who use Thames Reach’s services that over 70% want to find work.   


We know from our own experience as well as by talking with local people and the agencies working with them that there are many hundreds of long-term homeless and unemployed people who are eager to find work.






What practical support does the Employment Academy provide to the long-term unemployed?


There is a range of practical help on offer at the Employment Academy, including:



  • Vocational training
  • Employment focused group work and 1-to-1 support
  • The opportunity to meet directly with employers
  • Job search facilities
  • Support whilst in work, including financial assistance
  • Benefit advice and assistance and help with money management issues.



What areas do you specialise in?


The Employment Academy focuses on five vocational areas:



  • Retail
  • Construction
  • Catering
  • Social care/support work
  • Security



This does not mean, of course, that we don't actively seek to help people find work in other sectors, but it is in these areas that we think it most likely that people using the Employment Academy are likely to find sustainable employment.



We also specialise in making links with employers either directly, or via key partners with a track record of engagement with employers, such as Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme. Often services for the long-term unemployed specialise in helping people develop the skills and confidence they need but stop short of finding them an actual job.  This is not the case with the Employment Academy. The success of the Employment Academy is measured on how many long-term unemployed people using it can find and sustain employment.





Where can I find more information?



This website features further details on the Employment Academy, information about how to rent space in the building and the latest news. You can contact the Employment Academy on 0203 617 6070.