In November 2015, we launched a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy (CSR) comprised up of three predominant themes; community, environment and wellbeing. The aim of our CSR strategy was and still is to be more sustainable in our activities, making positive contributions to the community through charitable practices, as well as working closer with some of you, our clients.
Here is an overview of what we have done so far:
Theme 1: Community (November 2015 - Present)
Diversity and Student Experience
As part of the Community theme, we have been exploring ways to offer careers skills training initiatives and on the 15th September, we launched our very first employability workshop in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC). The WRC aims to help refugees to improve their life in the UK by focusing on employability and job-seeking skills. We therefore decided to host a session which focused on CV writing and improvement, and this is set to be the first in a series of workshops being run throughout the year.
Peter McGowan, the UK Team’s HR supplier, led the workshop with Marketing Officer, Petra Vahalova, supporting the first cohort. Five refugees attended the session, who came from South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, and all had a high level of educational qualifications. It was a pleasure to work with them, and we are looking forward to meeting our next attendees.
WRC’s Education Officer Iona Hannagan Lewis noted that the cohort “… thoroughly enjoyed [the session] and found it to be very useful… these sorts of innovative partnerships are exactly what our service users need. I'm very much looking forward to the next!”
We recently welcomed a group of 10 refugees to our office for an employability workshop about LinkedIn and Personal Branding. The workshop was the fourth of a series of employability sessions that IDP run in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council in Cardiff.
The session was delivered by Martyn Edwards, our Head of Marketing Communications and Business Development, who is also a LinkedIn expert (and addict!).
Before the session started the attendees introduced themselves and talked about their very different academic and professional backgrounds; from Engineering to Finance to English Literature. They are originally from all over the world including Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Sudan and are all currently looking for a job in the UK.
Feedback from the attendees was really positive: “I have learnt a lot of useful tips about how to build a strong LinkedIn profile…I will definitely rebuild my profile for it to be more professional and attractive.”
On May 4th, we will welcome all the attendees again for a LinkedIn surgery session run by Martyn, so they can have feedback on their profile. If you would like to be involved with our work with the WRC, please get in touch.
The IDP Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off competition marked the introduction of our CSR policy in November 2015 and was the first activity in our "Community" strand. The Bake Off resulted in money being raised through a ‘bake sale' - the proceeds of which were donated to local refugee charity, Oasis. It also gave us the opportunity to celebrate 5 years being in the UK and was an invaluable team building event.
The cakes proved very popular and Oasis were very grateful for the donation, commenting:
“Thank you for the amazing donation we received today…All the monies will be put to use supporting our work with asylum seekers and refugees.”
Arlene Griffiths, Director, Client Relations & Business Development UK & US, commented on the success of the day by saying:
“The bake was a great success and it was wonderful to see the whole team fully commit to it. The creativity that was demonstrated was wonderful and made me proud.”
Theme 2: Environment - Reduce, Re-use, Recycle (January 2016 – present)
To reduce the impact that we have on the environment - our second theme - we teamed up with sustainability consultants, Cynnal Cymru, to assess how we can address this important issue.
Based on the theme of 'Reduce, Re-use, Recycle', we are aiming to minimise our carbon footprint while embracing resource-efficient working practices such as recycling, waste reduction and energy conservation. So far we have:
- Introduced a recycling scheme in the office
- Begun promoting cycling to work in order to reduce carbon emissions, and to encourage a healthy workforce
- Reduced paper usage by defaulting printers to print double-sided, and by introducing a system for re-using scrap paper in the office
- Begun purchasing only fair-trade food and drink products for communal consumption in the IDP UK office
Theme 3: Health and Well-being - The UK and US team World Challenge January 2017-
As part of the health and wellbeing strand, each member of staff from both the UK and US teams have been supplied with a with a FitBit Flex 2; a wireless device which helps you to track your activities, exercise, sleep, weight and more. The FitBit has the slimmest wristband, with standout features such as swim proof, interchangeable accessories, reminders to move, a smart track auto exercise recognition and a call and text notification.The teams have been challenged to journey through the World, passing by our IDP Education counselling countries. The UK Team started off in Cardiff, Wales and began walking East. The US team started in LA in the US and began heading west. A weekly total of miles is calculated for each team as well as the location walked to.
Several challenges have been set up starting the end of January 2017. There is still a long way to go. Keep up with our progress by subscribing to our blog.
The UK Team Get Moving (January 2016 – April 2016)
These days, it’s easy for work to confine us to our computer desk, which can make us sedentary. To try and break the habit, January 2016 saw us kick off our “Well Being” strand, starting with a pedometer challenge.
The motive for the pedometer challenge was rooted in an 8-year study conducted on 4,000 people, which found that those who did just 15 minutes of moderate activity a day added approximately 3 years to their life.
Not only does walking reduce your risk of illness and injury, it increases your fitness, health and wellbeing, achieves results you can see, and has the lowest dropout rate of any form of exercise.
Each member of the team was given a pedometer so that we could record our daily steps and come up with a collective total to see how many kilometres we had walked as an office.
We focused on you, our clients, as a source of inspiration. Starting at our most northern client, the University of Aberdeen, we decided to "walk" to our most southern client, Plymouth University. The challenge was a great way of bringing the team together and helped each of us to think more about our personal approach to fitness. In the first week alone the team covered over 300km.
In total, the challenge lasted until 4 April 2016, during which time we covered 2,358,666 steps. That’s 1,179 miles, or 1,786 kilometres – enough to walk from our northernmost to our and southernmost clients twice!
Find out more
If you have any questions or suggestions relating to our CSR work then please contact us.