Bouygues supports employability in East Belfast.

Global energy company Bouygues has helped develop a greater awareness of disadvantaged citizens in the East Belfast area through the Employment East Forum.

The issue
The Government (at the time, OFMdFM), recognising that certain parts of Northern Ireland were suffering from real disadvantage, launched a Social Investment Fund (SIF) in 2011. It was designed to deliver social change by tackling poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration. Greater East Belfast was one of eight zones identified for support, and a project entitled Employment East commenced in October 2016. The target was to help at least 300 people who were unemployed/under-employed, low paid/low skilled, to find future employment and enable them to compete in the marketplace, or to move up in their chosen career path.

Through Employment East, Business in the Community formed an Employment Forum – a multi-sector body that included local businesses and large public sector bodies, etc. Led by Chair, Hugh McCaughey, Chief Executive, South Eastern Health & SC Trust, Forum members supported the development of employability skills and highlighted job opportunities, and simultaneously supported a vast array of business/education link activities.

What Bouygues E&S Contracting UK Ltd did
Bouygues joined the Employment Forum, and, as a result, developed a greater awareness of disadvantaged citizens in the East Belfast area. As a global organisation and business provider, Bouygues was urged to work alongside fellow employers to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable. Bouygues’ Board membership opened up avenues to network and discuss wider issues within deprived communities. From this enhanced understanding, Bouygues was able to play its part – specifically in supporting the Employment Forum’s employability agenda.26 week paid Work PlacementBouygues supported delivery of a locally-based solution, namely the offer of a paid work placement to an unemployed person, who would undertake this role within its waste-to-energy gasification plant in Belfast. The role was devised to give someone the first step in their career in the power plant industry, with the intention of giving the individual more of a stake in their own career pathway. The role is typically the starting point within the Operations & Maintenance team, and would potentially open-up different avenues either within the shift Operation roles, or even into the mechanical and electrical technician avenue.

With the support of GEMS NI (one of the partners within the Employment East Delivery Consortium), Bouygues advertised the role and was pleased to receive interest from Glenn who, due to personal circumstances, found himself unemployed for more than a year from an early age. When Bouygues staff first met Glenn, he lacked confidence. Over the 26 week programme, however, the company saw him blossom – become a rounded individual; making the role his own. He has become an integral member of the overall team, and, following a selection process, Bouygues was delighted to be in a position to offer him a job.As of 11 March 2019, Glenn is a permanent employee of BYES Contra with the opportunity now to participate in a whole training programme that is tailored to the levels of experience of participants. This will give Glenn the skills and knowledge required to help him be part of the team that will run the plant as it becomes operational.

Cath Gough, Senior HR Manager, Bouygues E&S Contracting UK Ltd commented:
Being part of such an effective and selfless programme has been inspiring. It gives Bouygues immense pride and delight to have been involved in supporting this venture.

Martin Bouygues, Group Chairman, Bouygues added:
A company only exists to serve its clients and to keep them satisfied. To carry out this mission it must be able to rely on people who are motivated, efficient and competent and have confidence. We never forget that our people are our greatest asset.

The impacts

  • Increased Bouygues’ brand reputation in the wider community of Belfast and Northern Ireland
  • Built a rapport with a network of employers and educational providers through Business in the Community’s Employment Forum vehicle
  • Satisfaction of supporting someone, who had additional barriers to work, to re-enter the workplace
  • Built the skills and confidence of an individual, which he needed to gain and sustain employment
  • Inspires a new employee to make better choices in life; giving him the skills, knowledge and courage to forge his way forward into a career