Equipping people to take a LEAP into the 21st Century

LEAP LogoWho are they?

Where are they?

What do they do?
Run schemes and programmes to provide people with the soft and basic skills to move forward in life.

How big are they?
18 FTE plus 6 PTE youth workers, tutors and a pool of volunteers.

What did they receive?
Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Servers with CALs, Windows 7 Upgrades and Office Professional Plus.

The outcome?
Users now trained on latest Microsoft software, to up skills themselves in order to achieve their career or personal goals.
From small beginnings as a community-based charity in 1993, Local Employment Access Projects (LEAP) has seen itself go from strength to strength, changing the lives of thousands of people along the way.

Aiming to address the barriers that keep disadvantaged groups from the world of work, the London-based charity also advises other organisations UK-wide. Their ‘Attitude Creates Employability’ – ACE – scheme helps 30-40 people each month. It’s not a one-off course, but an intensive scheme: three weeks of 9.30-5.00 coaching and guidance, provided free of charge to users.

“We empower people to be more successful in finding and keeping work,” explains Lucy Dutton, Community Development Manager at the charity. “As well as practical training, that means giving people confidence, communication skills, motivation and self esteem – the soft skills that are vitally important for employers.  Then we stay with them, providing one to one support, following up and making sure that our doors are open if they need it.”
LEAP approached CTX for donations of Microsoft packages. But aside from the charity’s own office needs, this software was to form a key element of the organisation’s training.

“If our users are looking for admin work, for instance, we want them to be able to use Word 2010,” says Lucy. “IT skills are generally a massive barrier for our clients, and having the latest software means that we can provide a better service as we up skill them.”

The need for software upgrades had been recognised at LEAP for some time, as businesses, libraries and even home users had started to migrate to 2010 versions. The charity also provides training on Word and Excel and naturally wanted to see its users as well-equipped as possible for business life.

“We knew we’d have to upgrade, but it was a question of finding funds,” says Lucy. “We’d have had to work on putting together a bid to a trust or foundation – it would have taken much longer to overcome the problem.  But our Chief Executive found out about the donation programme and passed the details on – we almost had to rub our eyes when we saw that this software was available to us!”

LEAP’s users are now training on the same up-to-date software as used by the employers with which they hope to find work. The charity is also in the process of implementing new server software that will help it run its own operations more efficiently.

“We had to overcome the fact that we were lagging behind – and it was excellent that we could do this via CTX,” comments Lucy. “The whole process was very straightforward – it’s a fantastic initiative.”



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