Employee Involvement is a key strand of our Better Future Ireland strategy where we encourage our people to play an active role in their local community, which is ultimately a triple win, for our people, society and our business.
We have a number of employer supported volunteering programmes that encourage our people to get involved in the life of BT and our local communities. 29% of employees across the island currently volunteer as well as the hundreds who do so much in their own time for a range of charities and voluntary groups. 92% of our employees say they are proud to work for BT based on our community and environmental activities, something we’re very proud of in itself!
One of our major volunteering projects is the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE|) which sees BT volunteers active from May through to October visiting schools presenting on BTYSTE, encouraging them to enter and even talking about their own careers at BT. 130 BT employees volunteer each year to actually help organise and manage the event each January. Affectionately known as the BT Red Coats, the team contribute more than 6000 hours in volunteering in total with this programme.
Our flagship programme, BT Connected Communities also sees many of our people from all areas of the business getting involved to help younger and older members of our community learn new IT skills as well as helping those looking for work gain vital skills and training.
Working with these leading community groups, BT is investing not only in the technology and the fibre infrastructure in each of the community centres but is also making available many of BT employees who are volunteering their time to support the expanding network of learning communities across the island.
The overarching aim of the BT Connected Communities programme is to reduce the potential for people to feel excluded or disadvantaged due to advancements in technology. Northern Ireland is very fortunate to have a fantastic fibre broadband infrastructure and we at BT want to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from that. This year we hope to see more of our people getting involved to pass on their skills and help make a more valuable contribution and impact on their local community.
Another key programme is Building on Talent, run in partnership with Business in the Community NI, it closely aligns volunteering with our wider people skills strategy. Participants taking part in the key learning and development programmes are given the opportunity to partner with a voluntary or charitable organisation to help them resolve a major business objective. Participants share in the skills exchange and also receive accreditation from the Institute of leadership and management.