Johnson & Johnson: Attracting key talent

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
Johnson & Johnson is a global manufacturer of healthcare products, and provider of related services for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. In Cork there are three Johnson & Johnson companies, Centocor Biologics, DePuy and Janssen Pharmaceutical. All have active, long-standing CSR programmes.

Business Issue:
Over the coming years, Johnson & Johnson will require in excess of 2,000 skilled employees in the Cork area. However, the numbers taking science subjects at Leaving Certificate level have been declining significantly over the last decade. There is a particular imbalance in the numbers of students from some areas of Cork city progressing to third level compared to others. We would like to encourage all students to consider careers in science, technology and the healthcare industry.

Solution Applied:
In 2006, we initiated the ‘Access to Education – Bridge to Employment’ project (ATE/BTE) for 5th year students from three schools in north Cork city. The project is modelled on the Johnson & Johnson ATE/ BTE projects that have been running in the US for ten years. The programme was tailored to address the specific barriers to education identified and was designed in partnership with students, teachers, parents, third level educational providers, community partners and the local Johnson & Johnson companies.

  • Phase 1 started in January 2006 and involved 150 5th Year students and their parents taking part in site visits, career sessions and third level information days.
  • Phase 2 started the following September. 50 students from 6th year were mentored by 50 volunteers drawn from Centocor, DePuy and Janssen. The 6th year students were also supported through mathematics revision days held in both Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork during the Easter holidays.
  • A mentoring training programme was designed and delivered to 50 mentors. Each student had four mentoring sessions. There were also two group sessions on breathing & relaxation to provide students with techniques to deal with exam stress.
  • Phase 3 is currently underway. A Student Ambassador from each school was selected to present at an annual conference of Johnson & Johnson BTE programmes in Washington DC. These students will also receive a bursary and ongoing support while attending third level.
  • An independent external evaluator was appointed and pre & post evaluation took place on all associated activities.

Company Benefits:
Having three individual companies working on a specific project helped to knit together the companies & employees. According to one of the mentors involved, “I thoroughly enjoyed helping the student. It was good experience and great to give something back”. Another mentor said, “It helped me to improve my communication skills”.

Stakeholder Benefits:
According to one of the students,“this programme has really broadened my horizons and has given me something to aim for. It was really helpful”. A parent said, “this is the best thing that has ever happened my son. His confidence and self-belief has improved immensely”.

Scheduling the ATE/BTE programme activities with school timetables & company workload.

All the programme partners have to be involved at the planning stage.

Departments Involved:
All sections of the three companies from Senior Management to Operator level, Technical Staff, Engineering, Finance, Manufacturing etc.

Solution Champion:
Jim Murphy, ATE/BTE Project Co-ordinator,