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How does IFDS engage the community?

14 Sep

We have a proud history of engaging the community and undertaking charity activities at IFDS. From sports days and social events through to charity fundraisers and community presentations, there’s so much more to working here than simply the day job. Resourcing Expert and community engagement extraordinaire Tara Simpson spoke to us about what’s currently going on in the world of community engagement.

Supporting students around the United Kingdom

“We work with local schools, colleges, universities, job centres and Councils and we actively go in and support students in their own environments. Our activities in this area range from mock interview sessions and poster presentations through to debates and hands-on workshops. We’re also regularly involved in school, college, university and job centre careers fairs and one of my aims for next year is to host tours of IFDS offices for final year college leavers and undergraduates to show them life at IFDS and the fantastic opportunities we have.

We recently worked with Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, launching a one-year undergraduate placement scheme based at our Chelmsford office, and in the past we’ve been part of a business studies panel debate at Havering College and mock interview sessions at local schools. Occasionally I’ll also be asked by lecturers/tutors to go into college classes and present IFDS and the Apprenticeships we offer, as this is a great opportunity to engage directly with students and encourage them to think about alternative options to university. One of our Directors – an alumni of Southend High School for Boys – recently went in to give an inspirational talk there too. We are pretty much open to anything!"

A personal touch

“One of my community highlights this year was IFDS becoming members of the Youth Employment UK organisation and giving two of our young employees the opportunity to become our Corporate Ambassadors for this.

Another highlight was a tour we conducted some local primary school pupils. We were approached by their teacher who wanted to inspire them and show them that there were local companies that were achievable targets for them to work at in the future. It was brilliant to be able to show them potential opportunities at this young age.”

Council connections

“We work closely with the Essex County Council and the DWP and we are referred a lot of candidates by them. We also contribute to council careers events and find this is a great way to engage with people in the community who may be looking for their next career step – and may not even know IFDS exist! We’ll present to work coaches and job seekers at job centres and then offer one-to-one meetings and Q&A sessions afterwards, targeting skilled and educated people who may be out of work for whatever reason. This has been really successful for us in the past, with placements made directly from these sessions.”

Taking on the Highland Games

“Another community project we’re involved in currently is the Stirling Highland Games. Event organiser, Matt McGrandle, runs this through his company Forth Valley Social Enterprise, which runs employability programmes for young people. As community partners for the event, we’re excited to not only enjoy the festivities of the games but also support and chat to young people at the event about what we can offer them.

As a large local employer, we’re always trying to seek out new ways of finding candidates and getting our brand out there, and this is always an element of the community work we do.”

If you’re interested in being part of the forward-thinking IFDS community, take a look at our current vacancies here. Stay tuned to find out what activities we get involved in next!
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