SSE Works: The Untapped Talent Pool
SSE Airtricity recently took partin a panel discussion entitled The Untapped Talent Pool which was moderated by Colette Fitzpatrick of Virgin Media News. Stephen Clince, Customer Service Team Lead with SSE Airtricity, spoke about SSE Works, SSE Airtricity’s employability programme.
The programme aims to remove barriers to employment and has been running since 2017 with three cycles of the programme successfully completed. Stephen was joined on the panel by participants of employability programmes with Boots and Cube Logistics, as well as the MD of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and another of its employees who spoke about the benefits of facilitating access to the workplace.
Regina Doherty TD, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, made a keynote speech at the event, recognising the roles that businesses, government and supporting organisations play in addressing social inclusion. Stephen spoke about the benefits a programme like SSE Works brings to a company – including the diverse range of participants who bring a host of skills, knowledge and life experience to SSE Airtricity.
Stephen also noted that to ensure both company and participants overcome hurdles in the initial stages, it is essential to provide a supportive environment with participants of SSE Works buddied up with more experienced colleagues from the start of their employment. Business in the Community Ireland provided support for the programme which was essential to its success.
Mia Fahey McCarthy, Head of Sustainability, Ireland said “At SSE Airtricity we are delighted to have completed a third cycle of this valuable programme and to share our experience with other companies, so they might consider something similar. As members of the Social Inclusion sub-group of the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, we are very aware of the importance of creating an inclusive workplace and how we can play our part in facilitating that.”
Anna Greenhalgh, Business in The Community Ireland (BITCI), Employability Programme Manager said: “BITCI is proud to partner with SSE Airtricity on its innovative inclusion and employability programme, SSE Works. The programme helps meet two objectives: increasing work place diversity and retaining staff. SSE partners with Business in the Community Ireland to reach out to the community to find long term unemployed jobseekers and provide an entry point into the business. The programme recognises the need to offer extra layers of support for people who have been out of work for a long time. BITCI works closely with SSE and programme candidates to provide support before they start and during their first 6 months in the job. SSE is leading the way in making their Diversity and Inclusion agenda a top priority.”