Employment Academy
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Employment Academy seeks volunteers

Thames Reach service user Tom Elliot
Tom Elliot volunteers as a receptionist at Thames Reach's Elmfield House offices in Stockwell.

21 September 2012

The Thames Reach Employment Academy – which will offer a range of services to both the homeless and unemployed people – is opening up its doors to volunteers to help run the Camberwell-based project which will open up in autumn 2012.

On offer will be customer service roles which will involve staffing the front-of-house reception desk, guiding people around the 20,000 square foot building and representing the 'face' of this new project.

Volunteers will also get the opportunity to help run evening and weekend events preparing them for a future in the hospitality industry.

Rashpal Panesar, a lead manager in Thames Reach’s Employment and Resettlement Team, said: “These roles will be vital to the running of the Academy and a golden opportunity for people looking to get the experience that could help them find work.”

Volunteers will get support to help them with their career progression.

42 year-old Tom Elliot, who volunteers as a receptionist at the Thames Reach Elmfield House offices in Stockwell, epitomises the benefits that can be gained from offering up your time to become involved in charity work.

Tom, who lives in a Thames Reach Camden supported housing property in West Hampstead, has volunteered at the offices for four months, answering phones and dealing with administrative tasks.

Keen, enthusiastic and extremely helpful, Tom has learnt a great deal.

Five years ago, things were very different. Drug dealers had taken over his property and were threatening Tom, who felt his only option was to sleep rough on London’s streets for the best part of a year.

Found and helped by outreach workers, Tom was housed and got the support to kick his drug habit, before getting involved in volunteering and giving something back to the community.

Tom has now applied for a place on Thames Reach’s traineeships, offering full-time paid employment.

He said: “In 2007 I was caught up in drugs, too scared to go home and ended up sleeping on the streets. Now I feel a thousand times better. This volunteering has really helped me develop my confidence and my self-worth. I really enjoy it and I’m now keen to move on to full-time work.”

Thames Reach will be looking for volunteers from across the local community. Along with training, the charity will offer lunch and travel expenses.  If you want to be a part of this exciting new development, email enquiries@thamesreach.org.uk