As part of our Civic Engagement work and the process of developing our Civic University Agreement, we are continually looking for ways to enhance our corporate behaviours so that our presence in the city is of benefit to local people.
To do this we rely on the input of operational teams across campus. One team that has been extremely proactive in assessing how it could better support the local community is the HR department, with HR staff undertaking several projects with civic value.
Abi Lyons, Head of Talent Acquisition & HR Business Partner, has been instrumental in establishing three new projects aimed at providing opportunities for local people to gain work experience at the University.
The Kickstart Programme
This scheme provides funding to create new 6-month roles for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who might otherwise be at risk of long term unemployment. These paid placements give the holder a minimum of 25 hours of work a week. They not only gain experience in their role, but also receive support in CV writing, interview skills, and other benefits that will support them into employment.
Women's Work Lab
The Women's Work Lab is a local social enterprise that supports unemployed mothers aged 25+ to be able to venture into the world of work. These individuals have come from challenging backgrounds, including domestic abuse, long parenting, parenting children with SEN, or home displacements. The scheme provides specialist classroom training provided by WWL, combined with a work placement with an employer, focused on building their confidence, ambition, and employability skills. The University makes a donation of £1500 to the social enterprise for each woman who is placed with it, supporting their training and the running of the organisation. Two placements have already been successfully undertaken at the University, with plans to offer more throughout the autumn semester.
School children work experience
To date the University has not had a coordinated work experience placement programme, meaning that school students who want to do a placement at the University have had to make their own contacts and arrange their own setting. A new programme has now been put in place through which members of HR work directly with local schools to support students in applying for work experience placements at the University. In addition to their work placement, students will be provided with training in employability skills by members of our HR team, helping them to prepare for future study or work.
Over the next few months, we aim to share other projects and initiatives that colleagues across the University are undertaking to adapt their operations so that they better contribute to the local community. We're here to support any projects you might have in mind, so if you think there are areas that your team could address then please do drop us a line.