A news round-up of stories in the FM sector
Partnership: Clevedon Secondary School
Service: Chartwells, Compass Group’s school and education catering division, has partnered with Clevedon Secondary School in Glasgow to fund a ‘Heat Grub’ initiative, providing a three-course meal to those in need within the local community.
Description: The initiative is aimed at people dealing with cost-of-living challenges. Running every Wednesday night from 5pm to 7pm during January in the school hall, the ‘Heat Grub’ is an opportunity for families and individuals in the local community to come together and enjoy nutritious meals. People can also choose how much they would like to pay for the food, according to their means.
Details: The menu is a selection of the meals that Chartwells provides to the school. There will be options available for those with allergies and dietary requirements, including gluten-free and dairy-free soup, vegan and gluten-free chow mein and a selection of fruits for dessert. During the evening, families will be able to enjoy live music and board games. Chartwells’ catering team is also on hand to answer any home cookery questions people may have. Families that are struggling financially can also check whether their children are eligible for free school meals.
Organisation: Vail Williams
Announcement: Property consultancy Vail Williams has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the menopause, Menopause Matters.
Description: The campaign kicked off with a management awareness course run by a specialist and attended by LLP members. It will continue throughout 2023 with a range of initiatives, including practical support, a menopause 'first-aid kit' for each office and a wider awareness programme for all staff. The campaign comes as the government has rejected proposals from the Women and Equalities Committee for ‘menopause leave’ pilot schemes and changes to the Equality Act to make menopause a ‘protected characteristic’. Tanya Horscroft, learning & development manager at Vail Williams, said: “As an Investors in People Gold-accredited company it was important to us that we embraced this topic… The awareness course was deployed to help build stronger relationships via compassionate understanding and expanded comprehension of the issue.”
Details: The first awareness course was carried out by Nicola Green Consultancy – a Dorset-based specialist in menopause awareness for the workplace. Now Vail Williams is working on the delivery of a range of wider menopause initiatives within the business as part of its Positive Health & Wellbeing strategy. These range from a women's wellness risk assessment and practical support for women to support their symptoms, including a menopause 'first-aid kit' for each office, to the delivery of a wider awareness programme for all staff in 2023 designed to open up conversation around the issue.
Background: Menopausal symptoms affect 75% of women and a survey by the British Menopause Society revealed that 45% of respondents felt these symptoms had a negative impact on their work.
Announcement: EQUANS, owner of the nationwide GeniePoint electric vehicle-charging network, has partnered with IVE, a creative education provider, to set students in Yorkshire a challenge to address air pollution that will be brought to life and delivered as a marketing campaign.
Description: The project, begun earlier this year at Netherhall Learning Campus in Huddersfield, forms part of a wider initiative launched by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, where an Effective Transitions fund – funded by Careers and Enterprise Company, will support 180 disadvantaged female pupils aged 14 to raise aspirations and achieve places in post-16 education training or apprenticeships.Twenty-two Year 10 girls were selected at Netherhall to take part in an Applied Creativity Lab and Mentorship Programme led by IVE. The challenge, set by EQUANS, has seen the students propose a solution to reduce air pollution through a marketing campaign focusing on encouraging individuals and businesses to switch from fossil-fuel cars.
Details: Students were given 10 hours, split across multiple sessions, to prepare a campaign. A panel from EQUANS and a range of industry figures gave the final session, then the students made a Dragons Den-style pitch. The students with the winning campaign will have the chance to take their campaign to a marketing agency, which will support the students to launch the activity on the GeniePoint social media channels. In addition to the practical challenge, the project has also included members of the EQUANS EV Solutions team delivering marketing workshops.
Organisation: AAI EmployAbility
Service: Edinburgh-based not-for-profit recruitment agency AAI EmployAbility has partnered with employee engagement and wellbeing company Trickle to offer its feedback app to clients seeking to improve their team’s diversity, equity and inclusion.
Description: AAI supports businesses to build more diverse teams through inclusive recruiting for permanent roles and short-term placements. It also offers a range of diversity and inclusion training, as well as projects to support corporate social responsibility. Using Trickle’s app will give its placed candidates – mostly from under-represented groups – the chance to make suggestions, raise concerns and reach out for support to their new employers in real time.
Details: Through its work in breaking down employment barriers, AAI has found this type of communication is something disadvantaged groups struggle with. For example, in its employability programmes for minority ethnic women, where AAI has supported at least 400 people to “realise their potential and break the stigma of a career gap”, a lack of confidence in speaking up has been a significant trend. CEO Joy Lewis said: “We want to change recruitment for the better and help create company cultures that are open and inclusive. Having a partner like Trickle will help us to ensure that the diverse candidates we place feel comfortable sharing their views with their employers. We see this partnership as a way to support employees to have their questions answered or concerns raised anonymously, which we believe is vital at a time when many diverse individuals lack the confidence to speak up."
Background: Launched in 2019, Trickle has a client base of more than 40,000 users, including staff at the Scottish Government, more than half of Scotland’s regional health boards, and several NHS England trusts, and recruitment agency Eden Scott. In November it signed a partnership with global IT and business consulting giant CGI.
Organisation: Mother Pukka
Service: WorkYourWay, a new flexible working job site, was officially launched this week (23 January) to match people across the globe with their dream flexible working roles. Dubbed ‘Tinder for Flex’, WorkYourWay is underpinned by a ‘flexibase’ algorithm that generates percentage scores for roles and candidates to help them to find their perfect match.
Description: Devised by Tim Grimes and Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka – an author, broadcaster, and campaigner who has spent five years persuading firms to be more reasonable about parents' time – WorkYourWay matches parents and non-parents with their dream flexible working roles. It has been designed to help companies fill roles that remain vacant by bringing to life the flexible working policy. The pair point out that unemployment peaked at 3.5% in August, and yet 1.3 million jobs remain unfilled. Millions of people who could contribute their skills to the recovery are facing barriers from outdated work contexts and cultures. Their research shows that nine in 10 (87%) people want to work flexibly, yet just one in four jobs currently advertises flexible options.
Details: The site is live, and hundreds of companies are already listed. Candidates can search the site for flex-forward companies and jobs, filtering 23 options to find their dream flex. Filters include working patterns, workload, workplace and life events, enabling candidates to provide total clarity on their work-life arrangement before applying for the role.
Background: Last year, Whitehouse and Sir Robert McAlpine released a Flexonomics report revealing that flexible working is worth £37 billion to the economy. A 50% increase in flexible working rates could result in a net economic gain of £55 billion, it stated.
Partnership: Heathrow Airport
Service: The airport and its contract catering partner Eurest, a division of Compass Group, have since November been delivering a free food scheme for employees during the cost-of-living crisis.
Description: The airport operator wanted to offer every member of staff access to a daily free meal. Eurest was able to turn around the operation in only four weeks despite big logistical challenges, including having to hurriedly reopen workplace restaurants that had been closed since the pandemic – to cope with demand.
Details: Tom Bonner, Eurest’s contract director, said: “We have more than 100 different clients across the airport and needed to reach them all while maintaining speed of service. But we developed an app-based voucher solution which has proved hugely popular.” More than 241,000 vouchers have been redeemed. About 6,000 people – 93% of airport employees – can now access two daily vouchers on their app, one for food and one for a hot drink, which can be used at any time during their shift – whether that is breakfast, lunch or dinner. The scheme has seen colleagues take up the offer as part of a range of support procedures. Eurest brought in food vans to ensure every part of the airport was served and even created a special menu for the on-site fire station, delivering raw ingredients for firefighters to cook.