IT training helps move people away from homelessness

25 January 2022

The iReach programme provides homeless people with valuable IT skills

Learning how to use a computer can be crucial for those trying to move away from homelessness and social exclusion. Read how one man was helped to start a new chapter in his life…

‘PC’ had referred himself to Thames Reach’s iReach service on the recommendation of a friend. PC had a background in computer engineering but had been out of work for a few years and was in recovery for eight months.  When the staff at Thames Reach met PC, it was clear that he wanted to return to IT, as he had worked in this field for 20 years and it was all that he knew. He was aware lots had changed since he stopped working; the programs were different and Microsoft had evolved.

PC knew the basics, such as how to access his email and use Google, so iReach staff also taught him how to attach documents and how to access One Drive to save documents, both of which he would need when applying for jobs or further training.

PC developed his skills quite quickly and wanted to explore more Microsoft products and programs. The iReach team therefore showed him how to use Excel, PowerPoint and Word, and the more technical side of things such as setting up a laptop. At this stage, the team were keen to find more training that would be suitable for PC to apply for. They found the FDM Group, a company which trains people in the IT industry for eight weeks and then offers an 18-month work placement. PC applied and got to the second interview but was ultimately unsuccessful, although they did advise him to re-apply the following spring.

Although PC was upset, iReach staff found another course which would be useful for his skillset and which would equip him with more skills in preparation for reapplying to the FDM Group. He has since been accepted on a 12-week accredited software development course with ELATT.

PC said “iReach has given me the chance to retrain to get back into work and start a new chapter in my life. I cannot thank you enough for your help.’’

Thames Reach teamed up with the WCIT Charity to develop iReach, a computer workshop for people with little or no IT skills. Sessions are delivered in an informal group setting at the Employment Academy as well as at hostels, day centres and other Thames Reach projects across London. The focus is on practical help to get people online quickly.