Education Partnership Award 2021
Social Inclusion and Prosperity

Education Partnership Award

Heron Bros (HBL) is committed to investing across its value chain to grow quality initiatives with its education partners.



The objective is to impact on a greater number of children and young people to generate an inclusive future talent pipeline across all industries, while helping to raise the aspirations and achievements of young people.

What Heron Bros did

Through engaging with stakeholders and partnering with its supply chain, clients and industry representatives, Heron Bros identified key Educational Partnerships where it could have the greatest society benefit while meeting greatest business needs.

Objectives around education are strategically defined and communicated through MyHeron App, the Corporate Responsibility (CR) policy and externally through the CR Pillars of Valuing People and Community Partnering, and the company has identified SDG’s 4,5,10 as the main areas of growth.

Action to mitigate the impact of COVID on education initiatives and engagements include:

  • NI First Virtual Construction Bootcamp – Online Work experience
  • Project specific education partnerships online for careers advice and mentoring

Strategic partnerships to reduce education inequalities:

  • Medical School Scholarships
  • Cooperation Ireland Future Leaders Programme to equip the next generation of leaders in society
  • Building Bridges Sponsorship – Providing opportunities for young people from Northern Ireland to access education at Yale
  • Construction Academy – Holistic Social Value in partnership with Belfast City Council

Education Partnerships are discussed at board level but designed by staff, and senior managers take an active part and support a wide range of community-based initiatives.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Financial support provided, including monetary and products, in 2020 – £42,000
  • Volunteering of employee’s time and skills for education in 2020 – 71 Hrs
  • Increased number apprentice and trainee applications and intake of 20%
  • Increased and above average female representation 25% female representation
  • Partnerships crucial in winning prestigious awards
  • Improved employee engagement and motivation
  • NI Construction bootcamp – 81% are now pursuing a career in the construction industry after the event, previously 25%
  • Draperstown Digital Inclusion Project – raised over £27k in funding to ensure equality and inclusion in learning opportunities during the pandemic through access to education at home
  • 570 young people (14-17) from challenging backgrounds engaged in the Future Leaders Programme

For more information, contact

The Judges said

Heron Bros demonstrated a value-based array of education initiatives, used to address the many inequalities across society including;

  • Supporting care experienced young people in the education system
  • Targeting diversity – a focus on women in construction
  • Addressing the STEM generational skills shortage

There was range and depth in the evidence of the programme impact, and they engage their supply chain and external partners in activities as appropriate.