Employment Academy
Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Volunteer course participants celebrate graduation

Jeremy Swain and Travel graduate Chris Bennett
Thames Reach Chief Executive Jeremy Swain and Travel graduate Chris Bennett are pictured at the Travel graduation ceremony at the Employment Academy

23 August 2013

The Employment Academy hosted the latest graduation ceremony for participants who successfully completed the Thames Reach volunteer training scheme, Travel, which helps formerly homeless and vulnerable people make their way back into the workforce.

Travel participants attend an eight-week volunteering course that runs from the Employment Academy. The course helps people build their self-confidence, develop new skills and prepare them to get back into work.

Graduates then spend two months working two days a week as a volunteer for Thames Reach.

The volunteer placements vary to match the skills and experience of each participant. Previous jobs have included administration and reception duties, gardening, and running activities in one of our hostels.

Lara Taylor, who works as a support worker for Thames Reach’s employment and resettlement team, said:

"The graduation event for the TRaVEL course was an incredibly moving affair. The graduates have been brilliant and they were a pleasure to teach. Each of them has faced their own, different challenges during the course – but they’ve all been committed to it and developed immensely.

“They are now going on to a two month voluntary placement with Thames Reach and beginning their own pathway into further voluntary positions and employment. The Employment Academy has provided a great space with first rate facilities to make this all happen. "

Travel graduate Chris Bennett said: "Travel is one of the best courses I've done. It's really done my confidence the world of good, and it’s a great opportunity to get work experience through volunteering. And Lara's been brilliant"

Travel graduate Jose Torres said: "Travel has made me a better person and has genuinely inspired me. Now that I've graduated from the travel course, I feel that it’s played a major great part in my own, personal progress. It’s really lifted me up. I didn't want it to end"