We are currently in our seventh year of partnership with Margaret Aylward Community College (MACC) and our link continues to grow from strength to strength. Our key focus is to provide students with the opportunity to develop skills in new areas and also to be exposed to a professional office environment for the first time. Through the programme students have participated in sessions which aim to develop CV writing, interview skills, business etiquette and communication skills. Students undertake mock interviews and attend a ‘Day in the Life’ insight. This year we agreed to pilot sessions focused on 2nd year students to support the findings that engaging at an earlier stage can ensure students remain in education until Leaving Certificate.
EirGrid’s participation in the Skills@Work programme has offered huge benefits for the participating students, the staff involved, and EirGrid as a business. This partnership aligns with EirGrid’s Earlier Careers Programme, through which we remove barriers to employment through education.
An evaluation of the programme is carried out at the end of each school year by the students who partook. The feedback is used to shape the programme for the following year. This provides the school with a programme best suited to their needs. A key focus for the school is to encourage students to stay in education and reduce the dropout rate.
“A great opportunity to overcome your demons like stress and low self-confidence.” MACC student.
Our programme has not only impacted the students, EirGrid has tailored the programme to include its reach to teachers. Knowledge sharing has taken place through social media workshops in conjunction with our external communications team here in EirGrid. The objective of such sessions has been to build an online platform to showcase the schools achievements, attract and maintain students.
We consistently receive positive feedback from our staff members who choose to get involved in the sessions. It’s great for staff to get to do something different in their normal working day and there is always a lovely and positive atmosphere when students and staff get together. Employees really get a feel good factor and enjoy the fact that they are potentially influencing a young person’s life for the better.
Since the launch of our partnership in 2013, over 100 students from MACC have participated in the programme. In 2018-2019, over 90% of the students rated the programme as ‘very enjoyable’ or ‘enjoyable’.
Our partnership with MACC is core to our CSR strategy and we are passionate about continuing to deliver quality sessions and content for the MACC students and also teachers. EirGrid staff get a huge benefit and enjoyment from meeting and working with the students so our link with MACC continues to be mutually beneficial and rewarding.
EirGrid provided €94,358 given in cash donations; €5,250 was contributed through in-kind donations and €300 was raised through employee fundraising. Employees also volunteered 1,194 hours to local groups and projects during the year.