Graduate Social Value project: Upskilling for shelter service users

Telent’s Graduate programme Social Value projects are underway, and the three teams are working with organisations in their communities to drive improvements to benefit local people.

Telent Graduate programmes are work based training programmes with the aim of developing new colleagues with a high level of aptitude to become Telent’s talent of the future. Telent provide two successful hands-on programmes, each lasting two years and starting in September.

The programmes include a variety of classroom-based, field-based, and experience-based activities to develop Graduates to become highly skilled and successful colleagues.

As part of the programme, graduates are also asked to lead a project centred around Telent’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda.

In this series of articles, meet the graduates working on this year’s projects and find out more about the long-term positive impact they’re having on local communities.

Team 1 – Whitechapel, London

Based in Whitechapel, East London, Team 1 is partnering with Providence Row, a homeless shelter committed to transforming lives. Together we tackled issues in client upskilling, technology access, and kitchen operations to create positive change in our community.

Providence Row helps the homeless community in East London and the surrounding areas, supporting people with general health and wellbeing, training and employment development and offering a place to sleep with hot food.

Those accessing the services provided by Providence Row are either homeless or in vulnerable living conditions and as a key stakeholder, they will be beneficiaries of the support delivered by the project through enhanced technological infrastructure, improved digital access and skills enhancement workshops.

The project aims:

IT and STEM Skills Workshops: Deliver hands-on training to build essential technological skills

Access to Online Courses: Offering opportunities for job upskilling and professional development

Employment Support: Assisting clients with employability, job searches and fostering connections

Essential Aid: Provide resource to address immediate needs and promote greater wellbeing

Promoting STEM Career Paths: Inspiring clients to pursue rewarding carers in STEM fields

The Project Team

  • Phoebe Neil – Graduate Project Manager – Asset Management
  • Drishti Rabadia – Graduate Project Manager – Rail
  • Jack Leeds – Graduate Project Manager – Asset Management
  • Jack Reilly – Graduate Project Manager – Asset Management
  • Mohamed Abdulmahmood – Graduate Engineer – Asset Management
  • Tom Gomes – Graduate Engineer - Rail
  • Tom O’Hara - Graduate Engineer – Rail
  • Shaz Kawa – Graduate Engineer – Rail
  • Hassan Sultan – Graduate Software Development Engineer – Rail


In support of this project, Team 1 visited Providence Row and engaged with organisers, volunteers, and service users to better understand the project’s scope, challenges, and opportunities for the advancement of community services. This collaborative effort aimed to tailor the initial ideas to truly meet the challenges identified.

During discussions with the charity, the team discovered a pressing issue: the homeless shelter struggled with maintaining technology such as laptops and Wi-Fi. As a technology company, Team 1 saw this as a prime opportunity to help deliver improvements and benefit service users in this area. Access to the digital world is crucial for most people and those accessing the services at Providence Row are no exception.

The team learned that many individuals struggle with access and skills for activities such as job searches and applications. Accessing training and education were identified as a challenge both through limited knowledge and understanding and a lack of equipment.

The project

The team has built a strong relationship with Providence Row through positive, honest, and open discussions about how Telent can support the charity through this project.

The project supports the ‘One Telent’ and ‘People Development’ strategic priorities and is aligned to all four of Telent’s Values.

Taking the feedback from those conversations with Providence Row into consideration, Team 1 deliberated on resources they, with support from the business, could deliver that would have tangible benefits for service users.

Further discussions identified three key areas that could be improved and supported. This includes upgrading kit and equipment to meet the evolving needs of their community, delivering workshops to enhance skills and capabilities of service users, and supporting volunteering opportunities.

Skills enhancement workshops

The project provided the charity with employability and skill enhancement workshops for its service users.

As early careers graduates, the team has recently experienced their own journey gaining employment and education opportunities in a STEM environment which is why they wanted to emphasise the importance of both areas when providing workshops to the charity.

The workshops are designed to enhance skills and employment prospects for those taking part and focus on developing IT and STEM skills.

Team 1 provided two separate workshops at Providence Row, in February of 2024. The Team successfully adapted the style of their presentation to match that of the audiences and covered topics in Online Safety & Search Engine Tips, followed by a deep dive into LinkedIn & Google Suite. At Providence Row, where breaking out of the cycle of poverty can be a formidable challenge, these sessions served as a beacon of hope, offering invaluable knowledge and opportunities for growth.

Team 1 received excellent feedback from Providence Row, the workshops went down a treat.

“I thought it was really thorough & informative. The Telent team did a great job of interacting with the client.”

Upgrading kit and equipment

To support the delivery of the skills enhancement workshops, the project team also donated new kit and equipment including a SmartBoard, laptops with relevant software, accessories, and Kensington locks to securely store the kit. Team 1 utilised Telent’s healthy relationship with LB Foster and partnered in installing the equipment at the shelter in the summer of 2023.

Team 1 is thrilled to share the impact of Telent's donation of new kit and equipment to Providence Row, enhancing their ability to deliver skills enhancement workshops and support their vital work in the community. Here are some statistics from October 2023 to March 2024:

Telent’s donation of laptops has supported:

75 IT sessions at the Dellow Centre, administered by Providence Row’s Progression Coaches

Over 225 hours of computer access for more than 200 clients

Clients have been able to work on and complete courses including working on IT (Employability focus), Learn My Way (IT Literacy), Level 2 Food & Hygiene (Prep for Kitchen Trainee Course), and many more

Assistance for clients in accessing universal credit, booking appointments, applying for jobs, and using job search platforms like LinkedIn & Indeed

Progression Coaches were able to leave existing laptops at hostel sites, meaning they are now able to travel without the burden of a suitcase full of laptops

Telent’s donation of a new Smartboard has supported:

Introduction of various IT-related topics to 2 clients and 6 volunteers through Telent's Seminars

Providence Row's fundraising team successfully presenting to local businesses, securing additional funding and support for their life-saving services

Administration of Naloxone Training to all staff by the services team, a crucial life-saving intervention for opioid overdose

Team 1 is very proud to see how these contributions have directly impacted the work of Providence Row, enabling them to reach more individuals and provide essential support and training.


Team 1's commitment to making a difference reached new heights as they volunteered at Providence Row's lunchtime service, immersing themselves in the heart of the community and deepening their bond with the charity and its clients.

At the shelter, where free meals and beverages are provided for its service users in a warm and safe environment, Team 1 took part in preparing and serving such consumables, providing a first-hand experience of collaborating with the shelter to support those who require it most.

The experience was deeply moving for Team 1, who found fulfilment in interacting with the clients. It served as a powerful reminder of the significance of donations and support for shelters like Providence Row. Witnessing firsthand the impact of their efforts has forever changed their perspective on homelessness and reinforced the crucial role shelters play in supporting those facing adversity.

Community benefits

The project benefits local communities by making significant strides in breaking the relentless cycle of poverty. When someone falls into the bracket of homelessness, it can be very difficult for them to regain stability and feel re-established within their community. By providing the infrastructure and supporting workshops to help people gain vital knowledge in IT and employability skills, there are new opportunities to escape homelessness.

Through the enhancements identified, Team 1 is confident the improvements will bring great benefits to the community space, improving accessibility, enhancing skills and increasing the likelihood of employment opportunities and income for service users at Providence Row, both now and in the future.

Furthermore, the teams’ efforts to liaise with Telent’s Marketing team to promote the project deliverables through social media channels and CSR reports will increase Telent’s brand visibility with existing and future customers and colleagues, and raise awareness of Providence Row, helping to secure donations which will be crucial as they expect a greater demand for their services due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Team 1 – London

Managing the project is supporting our own skills development in communication, time management, risk assessment, financial planning and will greatly support our development through the Graduate Scheme.

The project has required a great deal of collaboration both with each other and colleagues across Telent for additional support to help us understand the importance of broadening Telent’s reach and give back to our local community.

Supporting learning, raising awareness, and being a part of the personal growth of underprivileged individuals through workshops and technological installation has been a profound experience for all of us on the team.

By the end of the project, we hope to have further developed our understanding of corporate responsibility, social value, and relationship management, to give us a greater insight as to how companies can have a positive sustainable impact on the local communities.”

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