Property services firm Telereal is building strong cultural links inside and outside the company after winning a Computer Weekly Best Places to Work in IT award.
After winning the business services category in 2005, the company used the award as a springboard to start working with local schoolchildren to develop their IT skills, aided by several contacts made at the Best Places to Work awards ceremony.
Adam Burstow, information service director at Telereal, told Computer Weekly that the award has created a more positive attitude among his team, and its work in a local Tower Hamlets school has strengthened team spirit.
"It was during discussions with a fellow awards attendee that the idea of volunteering arose," said Burstow.
He said teams of three staff members at a time now commit to helping primary school children to apply general home computing skills in more productive ways. The children also visit Telereal's offices.
"The kids get specific IT knowledge, but more broadly it is about creating relationships outside their familiar school and family environments," said Burstow. "They already have quite a lot of specialised IT knowledge, having grown up with home computers, so we are essentially teaching them to apply those skills to Word or Excel, for example."
He added that staff have received the initiative extremely positively, and it serves as a common cultural touchpoint for the firm.
"Those who already have been on a term's placement now have a common language to communicate with those who are going next," said Burstow.
"And it is nice to see how bright, positive and engaged the children can be. My team definitely enjoy the feeling that they are able to give something back. It is also a new experience for many, as it is something you just cannot easily go out and do on your own."
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