Three volunteers using their professional skills to support education leaders

Members News - Jun 06, 2017

A common barrier to volunteering in the workplace is the shortage of time. This problem can be even more acute for senior business leaders. However, short-term volunteering opportunities that match people’s professional skills and experience to specific needs in community organisations and schools are a way to engage employees in a time-efficient way for positive impact.

Three’s support for the Management Excellence for Principals (MEP) programmes shows how senior business leaders can use their professional skills over a half-day to make a real difference in the community.

The MEP programme is run by Business in the Community’s Schools’ Business Partnership (SBP). School principals choose a theme based on their needs. Examples are Leadership, Time Management, Performance Management and PR & Marketing.  SBP liaises with the principals and relevant business professionals to arrange the workshop to suit participants and presenters.

Three hosted a workshop for school principals at which two of their managers presented  on PR & Marketing and engaged the attendees in a hands-on, practical session. The feedback from the participants shows how successful it was:

  • “PR and social media are essential to school’s marketing mix”
  • “Thought provoking. Schools don’t have the money to really market themselves!”
  • “Thank you very much for organising such a worthwhile and relevant seminar.”

Another comment from the school principals captures the essence of MEP – the fact that business skills are often very relevant to schools and community organisations:

  • “It has been very insightful in seeing how universal challenges are in businesses and schools. Networking has been great. I have learnt a huge amount. Just getting some guidance in how to handle media and how to do a press release was great.  In this morning’s session on social/digital media – not being a digital native – it was practical, clear and invaluable. It was also delivered in way that did not overload us with jargon”.

Maria Hynes, Communications Manager, Three Ireland who volunteered on the day said, “In a time pressurised job, long-term volunteering can be a challenging commitment so it was great to get the opportunity to volunteer one morning to give a workshop on public relations for the  Management Excellence for Principals (MEP) programme. It was very rewarding to be able to give direction and advice to the principals and I also learned a lot from them. As they say, every day is a school day!”

Time is at a premium for our educators and for business professionals  but through the Management Excellence for Principals programme business volunteers have a way to have a positive impact on our schools in a relatively short space of time.

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