Young people are becoming increasingly polarised due to their social background, into those who achieve success at school or work and those who don’t. The wasted potential this represents can have an impact on many businesses, who often struggle to recruit young people with the required skills.

At CGI we are proud to be one of many businesses who are helping to develop and create economically viable, cohesive communities by supporting young people in schools and through Prince’s Trust programmes.

CGI in the community: developing the next generationAs UK Head of CSR, I’m lucky to have the job of putting that into practice for our UK business. It’s important that, whatever we do, it’s sustainable and provides benefits not just for the community, but for our business and our employees. Community investment programmes have come a long way from simple cheque writing – they’ve got to provide positive outcomes for everyone involved, and our community outreach programmes are something I’m really proud of. CGI has a broad-reaching community programme, reflecting the wide geographical spread of our business and the skills of our people. It reflects not only the needs of our local community, in having access to new skills and opportunities, but also the needs of our employees through skill building. It also supports our student recruitment programme. It’s a total win-win.

We have two partnerships through Business in the Community’s Business Class programme.

The first is a partnership with Therfield School in Leatherhead. Started over three years ago, our Leatherhead office joined a group of organisations that came together to develop a programme to support the school. Driven by the Business Class partnership at Business in the Community, the venture has really demonstrated local impact. All the organisations contribute their own expertise, so in addition to the annual employability days that CGI host, we have supported students applying for university by holding mock interviews and provided business examples of curriculum subjects. We know from feedback from the school that these activities have been greatly beneficial to their students. But they have also given our employees a great opportunity to build their presentation and influencing skills, and have given us a terrific opportunity to promote the CGI as an exciting local employer.

We have also recently embarked on a partnership with a school close to our UK head office in Reading. The John Madejski Academy is attended by students from 11 to 19. We’re still establishing the programme but already our cyber security practice has held workshops to hundreds of students about staying safe online, some of our members have shared their inspiring career journeys, we have been providing regular reading buddies and have plans for employability days.

And finally, we are helping to provide support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through our partnership with the Prince’s Trust. The Prince’s Trust supports young people into work or education in a large number of ways – through its many different programmes it builds confidence, motivation, social skills as well as presentation skills and CV writing. Our employees will be using their skills and experience to support their programmes and we are currently excitedly planning a “World of Work” day at our Bridgend office for 15 young people on a 12 week programme with the Trust.

None of these partnerships could happen without the commitment and enthusiasm of our employees. As IT professionals, our members are highly skilled people and like many of us, are keen to give back and share their experiences and make a difference in the local community. By providing the opportunity through our partnerships, we are proud to be able to harness those skills to positively benefit the next generation.

Comments

Great blog Pip. Thank you. I am a STEM Ambassador working with my primary school in Bridgend to promote science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and to excite and inspire children of this age and give them the confidence to pursue these subjects at secondary school and into careers. I'm looking for a local technology company to support a STEM week in the Autumn. Have you considered a primary school project before?

Submitted by Jacqui Murray on 05 April 2015

Thanks for your comment, Jacqui. Our UK community programme is mainly focused on people who are considering, or about to consider their career options. However CGI is always keen to make a positive difference to the next generation in the community and so I’m interested to find out more about your STEM week in Bridgend. I will contact you directly to find out more details.

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