People and organisations across the country are being encouraged to share their pledge using the hashtags #iwillPledge or #iwill on social media, and getting involved with good causes such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering. So far more than 500 business, education and voluntary sector partners, including Business in the Community, have got behind the campaign and are committed to embedding social action into the lives of young people.
Here’s how three BITC members are supporting youth social action in their businesses.
From asking about social action in the recruitment process to using volunteering as a way to build leadership capacity in the business, promoting youth social action is a key priority for National Grid.
One way this is achieved is through the company’s seven year partnership with City Year where employees support, sponsor and mentor young people who are volunteering in schools based in some of UK’s poorest communities. Rodney Williams, one of the organisation’s earliest recruits, now works for National Grid, having built up significant social action experience that was recognised in the company’s recruitment process.
As Rodney explains: “During the year I learned a lot about National Grid and after completing my volunteering I applied for a job. I was able to use a lot of the experience I had got to answer questions on the application form and during the interview. Without the time I spent with National Grid while volunteering, I would have found it more difficult to get through the application process. Businesses need to recognise the skills and potential young people can bring and think beyond narrow job application questions. If National Grid hadn’t been so aware of the responsibility you take on and skills you get by participating in social action programmes it would have been much harder to explain how my experience was relevant.”
Read more about Rodney’s story: http://www.cityyear.org.uk/our-stories/alumni/rodney-williams/
Youth social action is a key part of British Gas’s strategy for developing its young employees. The company offers their engineering apprentices the opportunity to obtain their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as part of their training.
In 2016, the company celebrated 10 years of partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This partnership has helped British Gas to achieve a 95 per cent apprentice completion rate, whilst also enabling 2,200 apprentices to complete their Gold Award and volunteer more than 100,000 hours in their communities.
Jane Lee, who first worked on embedding the programme at British Gas, explains: “We were the first company to introduce the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award into our apprentice engineer training programme in 2006. The volunteering element of the Award is especially important as it helps our new recruits to relate to a broader range of people and their lives - essential for a customer focused business like ours. Volunteering is a fantastic way to demonstrate commitment, organisation skills, adaptability and empathy.”
Read more about how British Gas use social action to develop their apprentices here: https://futureproof.bitc.org.uk/latest/social-action-and-apprenticeships
PwC include questions about social action on their job application forms and the firm encourages their hiring managers to ask about this kind of experience during interviews. This approach not only promotes the value of social action but also allows PwC to recruit the best candidates, going beyond the traditional graduate cohort and opening up opportunities to all young people from a range of backgrounds.
David Adair, Head of Community Affairs at PwC explains: “This approach allows us to fully assess candidates and draw out some of the strengths of young people, which can be developed outside of just traditional academic attainment. From developing relationships to improving confidence and communications, experiences of social action are often key to developing many of the skills you need in the working world. We’d encourage any employer to think about what questions they are asking young candidates and how they can get them to show their potential through social action.”