Over the past thirty years a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an increasingly important part of corporate governance, as businesses have had to demonstrate to both their shareholders and clients that their activities have a positive impact on society. CSR Statements are now expected to not only monitor the impact of a business’s activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities and stakeholders but also identify a positive programme of action. Over the past five years EDS has worked with a number of private sector partners to develop a pro-active approach to CSR.
- The Enterprise Foundation
- Corpus Christi Work Related Employment Programme
- Corpus Christi Vocational Education Centre, Preston
- Alternative Education Project, Liverpool
In 2007 EDS established the Enterprise Foundation a ‘not-for-profit’ joint venture with Enterprise plc designed to demonstrate Enterprise’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. The role of the Enterprise Foundation is to work in partnership with the public sector and registered social landlords with the aim of delivering a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities which they serve. The range of initiatives delivered through the Foundation include: community support and investment programmes; employment programmes linking training to job opportunities on Enterprise contracts; environmental improvements on housing estates; financial and business planning for community and social enterprise businesses; and stakeholder consultation on service delivery.
Economic Development Services was commissioned by a local businessman to provide funding advice and assistance to the head teacher and management team of his former school, Corpus Christi Catholic High School, Preston. The assignment focused on three specific activities:
- Development and establishment of a Work Related Learning Partnership, linking the school to a local employer providing practical business based learning opportunities for pupils and staff.
- Provision of independent advice on the preparation of a bid for specialist school status.
- Preparation of a re-profiling report designed to demonstrate to funding agencies the challenges faced by the School and its future potential.
The first two stages of the assignment were completed with the launch of an Innovative Work Related Learning Partnership linking Corpus Christi with Enterprise plc and the award of Specialist School Status - Technology and Sport. The final stage of the assignment identified opportunities for the school to benefit from recent changes in the Government’s approach to national education policy. A follow-on assignment focused on implementing the findings and recommendations.
EDS provided advice and technical assistance (including the development of a business case) to Corpus Christi Sports and Technology College and its partner educational institutions for the development of a Vocational Education Centre located within the Corpus Christi Campus in Preston. This resulted in the development of an innovative Vocational Education Centre which: delivers the 14-19 Vocational Diploma in Engineering across Preston; offers complementary state-of-the-art facilities for the use of additional diploma providers; and provides a local employer/teacher resource centre and wider community facilities.
The Alternative Education Project targeted young people who have in the past been excluded from school or find mainstream academic study problematic. The project focused on the provision of work-placement opportunities within Local Businesses for a number of excluded young people. The objectives and outcomes of the project are as follows:
- To provide young people with workplace experience and structure to their lives.
- To divert excluded young people from anti-social behaviour and crime.
- To provide young people with technical skills working towards recognised NVQ qualifications.
- To provide access to future employment opportunities within Enterprise or elsewhere for excluded young people. EDS piloted this initiative by partnering with SALT – a South Liverpool based organisation accredited through the Liverpool Compact.
SALT were contracted to provide numeracy, literacy and IT skills tuition for 12-14 year old excluded pupils by a number of the high schools in Liverpool. Their successful model is based upon a split day consisting of a morning session dedicated to the provision of skills training and an afternoon session focusing on sports. Although this scheme has proven to be successful in engaging excluded pupils in the education process, there were no resources to continue with this intensive support once the young people reached the age of 16 years and as a consequence some of the participants drifted back into delinquency.
The pilot project saw EDS team up with SALT and NW Community Service to provide a structured vocational training programme for former excluded young people aged between 16 and 19 years.
SALT selected 15 candidates for the programme and provided them with life skills and vocational training in partnership with NW Community Services. The training programmes focused upon anticipated future vacancies in Liverpool City Council’s Waste, Street Cleansing, Highways and Social Housing Maintenance Contracts and Enterprise plc’s Matchworks Customer Contact Centre (e.g. Call Centre Operator, Help Desk Agent, Admin Support Officer, and Resource Scheduler).
EDS were responsible for:
- The Training Content: Providing advice on the focus for the training programmes so that they can link to forecasted future private sector employment opportunities in the City.
- Work Placements: Offering trainees a one week work placement in appropriate departments within Enterprise or Enterprise Liverpool.
- Linking the participants to Employment Opportunities, Apprenticeships and Transitional Employment Programme. On completion of the course, EDS prepared successful candidates for interview for vacancies within Enterprise and Enterprise Liverpool and places on relevant annual Apprenticeship and Transitional Employment Programme delivered by Enterprise in the City.
All of the 12 candidates who completed the programme found a positive introduction to the world of work and 2 of the trainees secured placements on the Enterprise Liverpool Transitional Employment Programme.