We want to make a positive impact on the lives of people inside our business and those who live in communities in which we operate. So, what are we doing to make this happen? In the second of a two-part blog, our Group Quality System, Sustainability Manager and DPO Neil Ross explains the progress we are making to deliver on our People and Community commitments as part of our Sustainability Roadmap.
People are at the heart of our business… When we sat down to think about our ESG and sustainability ambitions, we probably spent more time talking about the importance of people than anything else. Of course, it’s not just about what our colleagues can do for the business, it’s about what we can do to help them reach their full potential and to be the best that they can be.
Employer of Choice… This mind-set is driving much of our activity across the Group. At a strategic level, our Chief People Officer Sue LaVerne is planning the launch of a Xaar Group workshop in 2023 to understand what makes Xaar an ‘Employer of Choice’. This will be the start of a whole host of really exciting conversations with our colleagues and invited external stakeholders and experts too.
Developing and nurturing young talent… We are also working hard to develop the skills and talents of our group-wide workforce – across all age groups and all locations. Following the launch of our Early Careers Programme in September we have several new initiatives in place. September saw us welcome three new 2022 apprentices undertaking Engineering Apprenticeships, good luck to Charlie Green, Joshua O’Grady and Haiden Williamson.
Grassroots connections & experience… There is plenty evidence to support the value of real-world work experience for school-age children. It provides a window on a world they are likely to know little about, and it can help them to get an understanding of what opportunities are open to them in the future. These are just two of the motivations behind our commitment to make active connections with local schools and colleges to develop future work experience programmes. Our colleagues are working hard to build these relationships at the moment.
Meanwhile, in the USA, a summer intern was hired who was introduced through EPS’s supported charity Manchester Machine Makers (an organisation that teaches robotics skills to youngsters in Vermont). This is exactly how we want our charity partnerships to work – it’s a two-way relationship.
Learning is for everyone… Lifelong learning and personal development is not just for our younger colleagues. This year, we supported Learning at Work Week in May – which attracted 109 attendees across nine events and resulted in 131 hours of learning for our UK-based team. The feedback was great – and are already looking forward to next year’s programme of activities.
Finding common ground… Many of the things we are doing to as part of our People pillar have a cross-over with our commitments to Communities. For example, in June we welcomed 10 pupils from Stukeley Meadows School in Cambridgeshire on site for a day of activities and learning. This wasn’t simply a great way to add value and connect with our local community, it was a valuable and energising way to inspire the next generation of youngsters through STEM-based activities.
Strengthening our connection to Break… In the UK, we have formalized our connection to a wonderful – and hard-working – regional charity called Break.
Chosen with input from our colleagues, Break provides hope and support for vulnerable children and young people and their families in East Anglia. We have set ourselves a fundraising target of £20,000 – we aim to reach this figure with the help of our Charity Champions (very special people in our own business who are committing their time and energy to promote, inspire and support fundraising activities).
We have a whole host of activities planned with Break, so stay tuned via our social and news channels for details.
Defining our Charity Policy… At a strategy and policy level, we updated and published a Charity Policy. Moving forward, it will help us to define how we select and work with our charity partners. We think this is an important part of our ESG / Sustainability agenda and will be a really useful framework.
If you’re interested in our sustainability journey, you can check back to these blog pages each month to find out more about the progress we’re making towards our goals and ambitions across all four of our ESG pillars – Environment, People, Innovation & Communities.