ESB: Supporting and Promoting Education Programmes

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Business Type: Energy utility
Location: Head office, East Wall Road, Dublin 3. Locations nationwide
Mission Statement:
'Create a Brighter Future for the customers and communities we serve, by leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy.'
No. of Employees: 7,500

Overview of CSR Initiatives:
ESB partners with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) to support the BITCI volunteer programmes: Time to Read, Time to Count, and Skills@Work. ESB promotes STEAM activities nationwide through its partnership with the TechSpace programme, and the ESB Science Blast programme, delivered by the RDS. ESB in partnership with the DIT Foundation supports DIT’s Access to Apprenticeship programme which aims to address the current obstacles faced by young people from areas of socio-economic disadvantage in securing an apprenticeship.

Project team:
ESB CSR Team

Resources required:
Employee volunteers.

Challenges:
Volunteer availability and ensuring minimum impact on school routine.

Benefits:
Improved literacy and numeracy skills for participants and increased employee engagement.

Outcome:
ESB continues to participate in the BITCI led skills-based volunteering progamme.
The feedback from volunteers, students and teachers has been positive,
with increasing numbers of staff seeking to get involved each school year.

How was/is this initiative promoted?
Annual report, ESB website, social media channels and ESB’s print newspaper “Electric Mail”

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?
Yes. See Pages 76 - 80 our Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018

CSR Dimension:
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.

• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.
Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?

Community & Workplace

ESB, in common with many other Irish companies, need access to employees with strong science, technology, maths and literacy skills, all of these are based on getting young children off to the best educational start possible. ESB supports programmes such as BITCI’s Time to Read.

Time to Count is BITCI’slatest education initiative which seeks to improve numeracy skills amongst 3rd class primary school children. With the support of ESB volunteers, Time to Count ran through two successful pilot stages which saw a marked improvement in numeracy test scores amongst course participants. Time to count is now being launched on a nationwide basis to support schools in addressing numeracy skills at the earliest opportunity and also offers a fantastic, meaningful and worthwhile volunteering experience for employees.

ESB are also long-term participants in BITCI’s Skills@Work programme which sees ESB volunteers in five locations partner with a class of post primary school students in TY, 5th or 6th year to introduce pupils to the world of work though CV workshops, mock interviews, a day in the life experience and a visit to an ESB site such as Turlough Hill in Wicklow or Inniscarragh Dam in Cork.

ESB Education Case Study Image 1

Pictured Above: ESB Volunteer Tony Cummins with children from St Mary’s National School, Fairview taking part in Time to Read. Photo: Andres Poveda Photography 

ESB is also committed to promoting STEAM activities nationwide through its TechSpace partnership, a national movement that aims to change the lives of young people in Ireland by becoming Ireland’s leading creative technology network for outcome-focused youth development.

The TechSpace Network is made of a consortium of youth organisations, schools and partners as members, and it is managed centrally by Social Enterprise Camara Education Ireland. The TechSpace Programme enhances the work of teachers, volunteers and youth workers to give young people access to a space where they can create, invent and inspire through STEAM and Digital Creativity (Film-making, Animation, Photography, Graphic Design, Mojo, projection, AR and VR).

ESB further supports STEAM at primary level through ESB Science Blast, delivered by the RDS, which is a non-competitive programme for primary school classes from 4th – 6th (ROI) and Key Stage 2 (NI) that invites children to investigate the science behind a simple question that interests them from the world they inhabit. Projects are whole class-led and collaborative, and participants are encouraged to think, wonder, investigate, create, design, and explore the why behind the question – and in doing so they learn invaluable new skills.
Participating schools exhibit their work at showcase events in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, where they receive feedback from the team of expert judges and participate in science themed workshops and shows.

In partnership with DIT Foundation, ESB continues to support DIT’s Access to Apprenticeship programme which aims to address the current obstacles faced by young people from areas of socio-economic disadvantage in securing an apprenticeship. ESB’s support provides local youth with essential skills and knowledge they need to begin a rewarding career through an apprenticeship.


Business Impact:
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?

Since our foundation, ESB has always had a strong sense of purpose; to enable social and economic progress for the good of society. Today, ESB’s ambition is to help create a brighter future for all by leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy powered by clean electricity.

A future that will need creative, innovative, problem solvers.

That is why ESB - through our Generation Tomorrow programme - is supporting partners that are dedicated to empowering young people to reach their potential and power their collective brighter future. Over the next five years, ESB will invest more than €7.5m to support the work of our partners including TechSpace (part of Camara Ireland), RDS (organisers of ESB Science Blast) and The Cool Planet Experience.


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.

Our education projects seek to address:
SDG 4(quality education) and
SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities)


Learning:
What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?

Our common key learning from our schools’ partnerships (Time to Read, Time to Count and Skills @ work) has been to adopt a partnership approach with each school to agree a suitable schedule of sessions with minimum impact to each school’s routine. We also learned to have additional volunteers trained and ready to go in the event that another volunteer was unable to attend.

What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
Consider looking at a skills-based approach to volunteering. As an engineering business STEAM based volunteering has proven to be a natural fit. Seek advice from Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) who played an important role in matching ESB volunteers with participating schools around the country.

Download the Case Study as a pdf.


Case Study provided by:
ESB
June 2019