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Open Doors Initiative


Update: Contributions made by Open Doors Initiative members during the COVID-19 crisis.

Overview of Open Doors Initiative:
The Open Doors Initiative is a collaboration of Irish businesses, organisations and NGOs.

This Initiative provides opportunities to some of the marginalised members of our society:
• Refugees and asylum seekers
• Young people under 25 with educational barriers.
• People with a disability

In Ireland today, these groups face higher barriers to employment than most others.

In September 2018, 14 Irish employers came together with a plan to address these issues and support people from these three groups in Irish society into employment. The Government are fully supportive of the Open Doors Initiative, such as An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Minister of State, David Stanton as well as other departments who support our work.

The benefits of what we are doing will be two-fold – we will open up the labour market to some of those who have been unable to access it; and in doing so we will attract and retain our future workforces.

Nationwide platform.

Mission Statement:
To support marginalised groups in accessing training, experience and employment.

Project team:

Jeanne McDonagh, CEO, The Open Doors Initiative

Siobhan Sweeney, Director of Development, D&I

Resources required:
Funding for programmes and support projects.

Need to scale up to continue to help more participants and create value added supports for the companies and supporting partners.

Participants in or on the journey to employment. Collective influence, resources and knowledge sharing. Employee engagement. Reputational benefits.

Continuing to scale up and maximise these benefits.

How was/is this initiative promoted?
Social media and website, media, word of mouth, booklets at conferences, speaking opportunities etc.

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?

The initiative is less than a year old – we have issued a six month and First Year report (copies available on request).

CSR Dimension:

Four Dimensions of CSR

'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 –making responsible commercial decisions in dealing with suppliers and customers.

Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?

Community – work with participants from all over Ireland and the local communities around the business and organisations who are part of the initiative. Help new communities in Ireland such as Refugees and Asylum seekers and more established ones such as people with disabilities.

Workplace – many employees of the companies and organisations are directly involved in running programmes or mentoring. It is seen as very beneficial for diverse and inclusive employee engagement and retention. There is also shared knowledge between the different companies and organisations.

Marketplace – all partners are encouraged to engage with their supply chain and customers and bring them on board as members to further scale up the work of the initiative. Shared knowledge between all partners.

Business Impact:

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

In less than a year, we have run over 89 programmes which help participants to train and get practical experience and secure employment. Over 1,450 participants have taken part in programmes run through 35 companies and 18 supporting partners.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative:
Goal 1 – No poverty
Goal 4 – Quality education
Goal 5– Gender equality
Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth
Goal 9– Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities
Goal 17 – Partnerships


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

The power of connections and relationship building to help you on the way.

What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
Think big, think laterally, look to scale and help others.

Next Steps
Please follow our work on www.opendoorsinitiative.ie or @OpenDoorsToWork or LinkedIn

Or please contact jeanne@opendoorsinitiative.ie for further information on how to join us.

Download a copy of the Case Study as a pdf.

Case Study provided by:
Open Doors Initiative

2019 - 2020 Results

July 2020