Three won the Project Management for Social Good Category at the inaugural 2017 National Project Awards for an e-mentoring system they developed for their charity partner.
When Three began the process of selecting a new charity partner in 2014 the employees expressed the wish to be able to use their business skills in a meaningful way to make a difference to a charity. Subsequently, as the relationship evolved with the chosen charity, Virtual Community College (VCC), Three used its employees’ skills to deliver projects for VCC and, as an added bonus, VCC acquired valuable project management expertise that it can apply to projects in the future.
Virtual Community College www.ancosanvcc.com is a start-up education initiative by established charity, An Cosán, to eliminate poverty and social inequality through online and mobile technology. It empowers young people from disadvantaged communities to reach their potential through virtual, app-based and mobile communication learning methods.
Since 2014, Three has supported VCC through an employee volunteering programme, employee fundraising initiatives and a corporate donation. Three also helped VCC to build its m-Learning capabilities.
VCC identified a need for a volunteer mentorship service to enhance its educational offering and attract more students to its courses.The need to support a geographically dispersed online learning community was also a priority. Three initiated a project to design and implement a bespoke e-mentoring programme in conjunction with VCC.
E-mentoring is done online (or by phone) using a secure dedicated messaging platform built by Three.Mentors contact mentees once a week to coach the students and help them to complete their chosen courses.
In order to create the service, Three’s CSR manager, Jill Johnston, availed of Three’s Portfolio Management Office. A structured process was followed that ensured successful delivery of the e-mentor platform and the e-mentoring volunteering programme for Three employees and VCC Students. This included a day’s training on mentoring by VCC for Three‘s staff volunteers.
As an integral part of the project team, VCC staff were required to contribute to project documentation.This provided them with the know-how to manage and implement a project from start to finish and gain experience in the use of multiple tools.They saw how a large company implements a project that involves multiple stakeholders and realised the benefits of project management for their organisation in delivering a comprehensive, timely and well researched project.
VCC has now incorporated the same principles of project management into its ongoing projects. For instance, the organisation is engaged in a project to augment its app-based learning offering and is utilising the Three project management model.