Muirgheas Griffin, Managing Director of Smurfit Kappa News Press gives insight into the company’s involvement with the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) Skills @ Work (S@W) and Management Excellence for Principals programmes.
Q1. What was it about the BITCI education programmes that initially appealed to Smurfit Kappa News Press?
“Smurfit Kappa News Press has always recognised the importance of making a valuable contribution to the community in which it operates. With that in mind, in 2012, the company made the decision to link up with BITCI and a local school O’Carolan College, Nobber, Co. Meath to participate in the S@W programme. This programme prepares students for life after school and gives them an insight into the world of work.”
Q2. What do you think are the benefits to Smurfit Kappa News’ employees for getting involved with the S@W programme and meeting the students?
“We have found that corporate social responsibility initiatives and activities are something which our employees find both rewarding and enjoyable. Through this programme, employees have the opportunity to make a difference to the students’ lives. The employees support them in a number of ways by encouraging them to stay in school and recognise the value of completing their education. They also help students with practical elements of employment such as creating a CV, applying for jobs, preparing for interviews and being a generally dependable and reliable employee.
Over the academic year, the students get the chance to complete a plant visit and learn and talk to a variety of employees about their chosen career paths
The employees who participate in the programme also have an opportunity to develop communication and presentation skills by engaging with an external audience and helping and influencing young people at an important point in their lives. It also gives them the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the community in which they operate and live in.”
Q3. Do you have any stand out moments from your time being involved with the BITCI education programmes?
“There have been many stand-out moments over the years. The site visits, employee ‘day-in-the-life’ talks and mock interviews have been enjoyable and also good fun. However, for me, it is all about the students, and the wrap-up sessions are the most rewarding part. It is here that the students return the favour by showing what they are capable of in the form of cooking, presenting or performing. When we have an enthusiastic group of students, it’s a very enjoyable experience for all involved.”
Q.4 You recently hosted a group of principals for a morning seminar on leadership, do you think companies have a role in sharing experience and information of business with principals and teachers?
“It can be beneficial to share business insights with teachers and principals so they can pass on this knowledge to their students and give them an interest in a business course or career. Furthermore, leaders of every type of organisation can greatly benefit from looking outside their core business or industry to give them ideas and inspire positive change.”