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Upping our social impact game at Gradcore

Gradcore Team, Last updated 19-Aug-17 19:19

As many of you will know, Gradcore can trace its roots back over nearly 20 years - in particular to when we spun out as a social enterprise in 2008. Since then we have been keen to maximise our social impact in many different ways including:

  • Development of social mobility programmes – in particular helping graduates from non-traditional backgrounds understand the ‘rules of the game’ when applying for corporate graduate schemes

  • Continuing to support and run the Yorkshiregraduates.co.uk job board that connects businesses and graduates in Yorkshire, boosts economic performance in the region, and continues a legacy started in 1996

  • Developing fairer recruitment models – our pioneering ‘zero waste’ model of graduate recruitment means that all applicants are made more employable, even if they don’t get the job

Since Gradcore Ltd became a fully independent social enterprise in 2013, we have been looking for other ways to increase our social impact. We have come up with three further areas in which we can positively benefit society – some of which you might be able to help with, hence this post.

1 – Commitment that all Gradcore Employees will become charity trustees

Charities need trustees, and can’t function without them, so we are committing that all of our team will become charity trustees over the next year – and crucially be given the time to keep up those commitments. I feel convinced this will have a positive impact on the charities and our business. This feels especially pertinent at the moment because the 2-8 November is national trustee week. If you are not already a charity trustee, maybe you should look into it and see what a difference you can make:

http://trusteesweek.blogspot.co.uk/

2 – Giving a share of our profits to charity

We are committed to giving a proportion of our profits to charity, and this year we asked the team to nominate and vote for charities they would like to support. In the end we have decided to split our donations between 5 charities. I have asked some members of the Gradcore team who nominated the charities to say a few words on why they nominated them. If any of them particularly resonate with you, maybe you could click on the link and make a donation too:

Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity http://www.tchc.org.uk/

I nominated The Children's Hospital Charity because of the fantastic care and support that Sheffield Children's Hospital gave my son (and our family). The staff on M1 ward in particular were fantastic, and took great care of him as they do lots of other poorly children, and he has since made a full recovery. Thank you TCHC!

Sheffield Mind http://www.sheffieldmind.co.uk/

Mental health issues can impact anyone at any time of life, as I have seen having witnessed the impact this can have on colleagues and friends. Raising awareness and access to services is something close to my heart and the work that Gradcore does in increasing employment prospects for graduates from all walks of life.

St Lukes Hospice - http://www.stlukeshospice.org.uk/

St Lukes is a wonderful charity run by amazing people whose only endeavour is to give real meaning and value to the lives of the patients and their families at a time when they need it most. In memory of Peter Collins.

The Book Bus - http://www.thebookbus.org/about_the_book_bus.htm
I have chosen to nominate The Book Bus charity, as a literature lover I have a desire to bring the joy of reading to those who may otherwise never experience the magic which can be found inside the cover of a great book.

Cathedral Archer Project - http://www.archerproject.org.uk/

As we're approaching the depths of winter, which is a particularly challenging and gruelling time for the homeless and vulnerable, I chose Cathedral Archer Project. They do a fantastic job of helping those who have nowhere else to go, without judgement. 

3 – Donating our time, money and skills to an annual campaign

The final commitment is to pick a topic that is within our sphere of influence (graduate recruitment, skills, employability) and use our time, money and skills to help that cause. Over the next year that cause will be students and graduates with autism. We were approached recently by the parent of an autistic graduate who explained the challenges facing autistic graduates as they try and navigate the search for employment. We are going to do some work on this, and it will culminate in an event for employers and universities on the topic. If you want to get involved as we develop this then please get in touch, and if you can help with expertise, ideas and practical things like a London venue then we’d love to hear from you.

Calibrating what is ‘social’ about a social enterprise is difficult, so much so that I have pretty much stopped going to social enterprise events due to the endless ontological arguments. However, we are doing what we can and trying to do more. We know we need to get better at measuring and quantifying our impact – and I hope over time to be able to publish some sort of scorecard on this – but we know we have already made an impact on many people, places and organisations.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I hope this post does not come across as some kind of humblebrag or ‘practicing righteousness in front of others’. We have put this out there to hopefully attract more support for some of the causes we are passionate about, and to see if some of you perhaps want to get involved too.

Thanks for reading.

Martin Edmondson – CEO Gradcore – November 2015.

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