Managing Director, Sarah Jane Cork spoke to TPSO and shared her perspectives on social responsibility and discussed how Bidvest Noonan’s work with Employment 4 All is enabling disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to access training and employment opportunities.
TPSO: Bidvest Noonan have a well-developed social responsibility program; can you tell us a bit about that and some of your achievements?
We are committed to social responsibility; for us, that means acting ethically, minimising our impact on the environment while maximising the good we do for society. We have achieved a lot in this area.
In 2021, we launched Sunrise, our ESG community. Sunrise focuses on four works streams, Community, Workplace, Environment and Marketplace, to help us operate more sustainably. Sunrise is made up of a variety of Bidvest Noonan colleagues across each of our business units, who are passionate about corporate social responsibility.
Our Sunrise team have helped us to introduce a wide range of initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment and become a Net Zero business. For example, we are transitioning to a fully electric fleet and we have invested in a number of new technologies that are reducing our use of energy, water, and plastics.
As a people business, we have always valued diversity and inclusion. Last year, we launched our ED&I Council to help us develop a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive workplace. Our council has been very successful. In February, we received Diversity Mark’s Bronze Accreditation for our achievements in advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
We are proud to support charities and social projects which make a real difference for people, especially those that help disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. Like so many companies across the UK and Ireland, we played a role in responding to the pandemic, donating PPE including hundreds of thousands of face masks. Most recently, we have shown our support for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine, donating funds to charities working in the area and supporting client and community initiatives.
TPSO: How important do you think it is that companies walk their talk?
We believe that there are important social and environmental challenges that need to be addressed and it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to address them. We work together and with our suppliers to continuously improve our environmental performance and to find new ways to support people in need. We see more and more companies making commitments and following up with actions in these areas and we celebrate that. We are all in this together.
TPSO: How did you get involved with Employment 4 All?
We want to give disadvantaged people in our local communities the skills and opportunities they need to secure meaningful employment, financial independence and play an important role in society. That is a good thing in its own right. We understood that Employment 4 All, working with the Department for Work and Pensions, could help disadvantaged and underrepresented groups while also providing a stream of highly motivated and well-trained people for the security industry. We were happy to work with Employment 4 All and to provide training and employment opportunities for people who need it.
TPSO: How does this initiative help people?
This initiative provides potentially life-changing opportunities for participants. Employment 4 All identifies suitable candidates through a process that involves conversations and background screening. Candidates who meet the needs-based assessment, demonstrate the right qualities and show a strong interest in building a career in the security industry are invited to attend our training programme.
Candidates are given all the support they need to be successful. If required, they are provided with help to obtain the necessary paperwork and documents of identification. During our training programme, candidates are provided with a free breakfast and, if needed, help to cover their transportation costs and to obtain childcare services.
My colleagues and I provide the training and information participants need to start their careers in our industry. Successful candidates are helped with their application for an SIA licence and given the opportunity to join Bidvest Noonan as Security officers. I am proud to say we have already had our first graduates of the programme, a number of whom have been offered employment with our business.
This article was originally published by TPSO Magazine