BT supporting Scottish communities through our digital impact and sustainability approach
Across Scotland we are helping transform lives, connecting homes, businesses, families, individuals and ideas. We’re using our products and services to help even more people take advantage of an increasingly digital world. Access to the internet opens opportunities for better education, healthcare, jobs, economic growth and new ways of working. We’re helping to build an inclusive digital society to make sure no one is left behind. We’ve a big part to play as the UK’s digital champion, helping to build the infrastructure and skills needed to develop a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.
So what does this mean for communities, charities, families and individuals in Scotland?
Supporting young people
The BT supported Barefoot initiative is designed to help teach computational thinking and digital skills to primary school pupils and provides free, simple accessible resources for teachers that match the Scottish curriculum. Since its launch in Scotland in Sept 2016 over 6373 teachers are now registered to use Barefoot resources and 69% of primary schools are now engaged. Over the last year we have supported some 200 secondary school pupils with a one day employability and digital skills bootcamp.
As part of our commitment to the Ready To Work initiative, supporting young people age 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training, around 95 young people in Scotland have benefitted from our three week Work Ready training programme , designed to provide them with hands on skills development and live experience of what it is like to thrive in jobs powered by technology.
In addition BT has been a long standing partner of The Young Engineering and Science Clubs Network in Scotland – promoting STEM and digital skills and careers to young pupils across Scotland. Our support of the Digital Xtra Fund also means that these skills are also supported outside of the mainstream school environment through community, youth and out of school clubs and groups.
Sharing our skills
Through our volunteering programme our people help charities thrive and grow.BT employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities and are supported by BT with three days volunteering time per year, with many of our volunteers also adding to that in their own time. Over the last year 3167 employees in Scotland gave 1662 work days (and a further 1555 days of their own time) to support charity and community projects with a combined value of £850,000.00. This year 224 Scottish volunteers volunteered for the Children In Need telethon and volunteers support a wide range of activities across Scotland such as helping young pupils with their digital and employability skills, supporting community initiatives and charity fundraising, as well as a range of civic roles including The Children’s Panel and Special Constables.
Helping people go online
BT was a founding signatory on the Scottish Digital Participation Charter and has worked in partnership with The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to support a range of community projects designed to help people get online and realise the benefits that being online can bring. In particular we are looking to use basic digital skills to increase financial capability, employment and other economic outcomes and also supporting older people and people with disabilities to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Over the last year we supported six projects across Scotland which have helped disadvantaged people gain the skills and confidence to get online.
We give at least 1% of BT Group pre-tax profit to charities and community organisations through a mix of donations and support. We give our time, technology and expertise to help charities with their fundraising and we work in partnership with a number of charities including Cancer Research, Comic Relief and UNICEF.
Whilst BT’s free online giving platform MyDonate is ceasing from June 2019 (as we explore new ways to support charities) BT MyDonate has helped raise more than £7.7m for charities in Scotland. Additionally, some 1480 websites have been set up for Scottish charities and community groups using our free community web kit.
The BT Sport Supporters Club, now in its 6th year, has raised over £8m and supported 70 projects to help disadvantaged people through sport and , over the last year some 12,000 BT employees have also raised and donated £3.3m to over 1800 UK charities through our Payroll Giving scheme.
Working for the environment
BT buys 100% of its energy required to run our business in Scotland from windfarms in the Scottish Borders ( Fallago Rig ) and Caithness ( Stroupster ). A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA ) worth £485m over the next 15-20 years makes us one of the largest PPA buyers in the UK. We’ve closed the gap on our 100% renewable electricity target this year. 96% of our global operations are now powered by renewable electricity – up from 81% last year and we’ve pledged to become a #netzero Carbon emission business by 2045.