BT supporting Welsh communities through our digital impact and sustainability approach
Across Wales 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 Wales?
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 Welsh curriculum. At the end of March 2018, we had delivered 161 workshops in local schools.
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 172 young people in Wales have benefitted from our 3 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.
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 3 days volunteering time per year, with many of our volunteers also adding to that in their own time. In 2017/18 over 1,862 employees in Wales gave over 1,700 work days and a further 466 days of their own time to support charities and their local communities at an estimated value of over £585,000.
Helping people go online
Our business is about connecting people. Research funded by BT shows that the social value to someone going online in the UK is £1,064 a year. However, millions of adults across the UK have never been on line, which is why BT has been running projects to help address this. One example is our Get IT Together programme where we ran projects across the UK delivering digital skills and inclusion in the heart of local communities. As part of this programme BT Wales has supported three major digital inclusion programmes to promote digital inclusion amongst disadvantaged communities. We have also been supporting Grangetown Boys & Girls Club providing equipment and services to give people of all backgrounds and abilities access to opportunities created by effective use of ICT and superfast broadband. And we have an ongoing partnership with the Urdd youth organisation to support and promote safe use of the internet and social media.
Everyone should be able to benefit from using the phone and internet. So we also help people overcome the barriers they might face when using the technology and getting online – whether that’s a disability or the cost of internet access. If you don’t earn enough to afford the internet, we offer subsidies – read more about BT Basic and Broadband. Housing associations can give cost-effective internet and devices to their tenants with a shared internet service and tenants can share a connection and get an affordable laptop plus training and support. Take a look at this video to see how we are helping Wales and West Housing and their tenants to be better connected.
Our downloadable learning packages are designed to give you everything you need to help get somebody online and start using the internet. There are hints and tips to help you coach them and worksheets so beginners can make notes as they go along.
Working for the environment
If we expect our customers, suppliers and partners to reduce their impact on the environment, we need to practice what we preach. With this in mind, we’ve set ourselves some tough targets for creating less waste, cutting carbon emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. We’re one of the top energy users in the UK, so we have a big responsibility to keep looking for ways we can reduce what we use. We are finding new ways to cut the amount of energy we’re using in our networks and equipment, controlling how much energy we’re using in our offices, looking at how much fuel we use in our vehicles and adopting more efficient driving techniques as well as using the technology to cut down on business travel.
We are also committed to using more renewable energy. BT is a major consumer of electricity using around 110 Gigawatt hours (GWh) pa in Wales. In June 2014 BT announced that it would purchase enough renewable energy from a Welsh wind farm to match the power consumption of around 50% of its operations in the nation. The company is buying all the electricity generated by the new, nine-turbine Mynydd Bwllfa wind farm near Hirwaurn in South Wales. The deal is worth around £100 million over the next 15 years.
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.
Find out more details on any of our Digital Impact and Sustainability activities.
BT supports rugby throughout Wales. Working with the Scarlet's, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons we are delivering will deliver a ground-breaking rugby education engagement programme to young people in Wales’ most deprived areas called ‘Tackle’. Tackle was launched at the end of 2016, taking popular inflatable ‘cage rugby’ sessions to young people in Communities First areas in Wales combining fun, action-packed rugby sessions with education pathways and mentoring sessions. The investment to local communities further builds upon BT’s significant sponsorship and support of all four Welsh rugby regions.