People in all regions are living longer and having fewer children. This burgeoning population increases demand for energy, food and water. But the earth has a finite amount of natural resources that can be used to satisfy this demand. Alongside this, digital breakthroughs are happening all the time with new technologies disrupting the way we live and work.
These global issues filter down into local communities increasing the demand for jobs, houses and food and the need for digital knowhow and skills.
At Capita, we strive to tackle some of these issues through our own corporate responsibility programmes but we know that we can have a bigger impact by working collaboratively with our clients.
In 2011, alongside our initial Revenues and Benefits contract with the London Borough of Lambeth Council, we established a Community Development Trust allocating £500,000 for the benefit of the local communities. We worked with the Council to understand what their priorities were and then designed projects to address these issues. In the first 6 years, we focussed on tackling youth unemployment, crime and violence and economic growth.
Reducing youth unemployment through increasing employability skills and apprenticeships
We partnered with Business in the Community’s (BiTC) Business Class Programme which links businesses with schools to share employability skills and expertise. Research shows a significant link between young people’s experience of the world of work whilst at school and the chances of them becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) as young adults. Young adults who recalled four or more employer contacts’ during their youth are five times less likely to be NEET than those who had no involvement. This research is echoed in the results from BiTC’s programme which saw a 38% improvement in academic achievement for participating students and students’ employability increased by 40%.
We’ve volunteered 350 hours with Platonas College and Lambeth Academy delivering CV workshops, mock interviews, presentation skills and marketing advice to around 160 students.
Working with Capita has been a rewarding experience for Lambeth Academy, for our staff and our pupils. The Capita volunteers are always enthusiastic and share their experiences of the world of work with passion. We look forward to welcoming Capita mentors into the school this year to work with our students who are interested in a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.
Associate assistant head teacher, Lambeth Academy
Our KnowledgePool business has secured apprenticeships for 102 Lambeth residents either within Capita or our supply chain.
Breaking the cycle of reoffending to create safer communities
We partnered with St. Giles Trust, a charity that helps people facing severe disadvantage to find jobs, homes and the right support they need. They offer intensive, specialist help for young people affected by gang-related violence and exploitation and work in schools and colleges to prevent young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs and violence.
Within the two-year partnership, we funded an SOS Project Officer who worked with 45 young offenders helping them to break the cycle of re-offending. We also supported the SOS+ Programme which delivers interactive sessions in schools, pupil referral units and colleges providing practical tools and knowledge to young people on how to steer clear from violence and crime. Over 180 students were funded to participate in the programme.
Supporting economic growth through entrepreneurialism
In 2014, we launched ‘Your Big Idea’, an event open to all young people in Lambeth who are interested in learning how to start a business. Since our launch, we have run 3 events that sees young entrepreneurs attend a series of workshops covering everything from sales and marketing to social media and business planning. Participants are then given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, a bit like BBC 2’s popular ‘Dragon’s Den’. Successful entrepreneurs are awarded with seed funding to develop their ideas further.
Over the course of the 3 events, 61 entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to our panel. 43 entrepreneurs were successful in being awarded seed-funding to grow their business – a total of £17,000 was awarded in funding.
Looking to the future
As we continue our relationship with Lambeth Council, we will remain committed to developing programmes that support the Council’s Borough Plan delivering long-term social value to Lambeth communities.
In 2018, we plan to support residents access apprenticeship opportunities, foster an inclusive workplace for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, build a thriving community through the power of social enterprises and we will continue to work with the BiTC’s Business Class programme to build employability skills in Lambeth schools.
As a Council, we want to work with suppliers who not only deliver an efficient and effective service but who also help us to tackle local issues in our communities. The Community Development Trust developed with Capita is doing just that – understanding the needs of our residents and developing projects that improve the quality of lives for many people.
Head of revenue and benefits, London Borough of Lambeth Council
Our work with Lambeth is one of many examples of how we work collaboratively with our clients to deliver sustainable value.