The 5% Club campaign has started 2014 with the signing up of four new companies – including Balfour Beatty and Thales – and one public sector organisation. All of the new members have committed to the aim of ensuring that 5% of their workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.
International infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, which employs 20,000 staff in the UK, and Thales, one of the UK’s leading engineering and technology companies, are joined by the MoD’s science and technology organisation, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and IT, data centre and Cloud supplier, Attenda. The new sign-ups bring the current number of companies in The 5% Club to 18, together accounting for 100,000 UK employees.
The new members continue to add weight to the commitment of existing members – including Babcock, Atkins, Airbus UK, Vision Express and others – to tackle the nearly 1 million youth unemployment level, by providing the skills and training necessary to build meaningful careers for the next generation.
Balfour Beatty Chief Executive, Andrew McNaughton said: “The growth of the construction industry will be vital to helping the UK economic recovery, but at the same time the industry is facing the prospect of a skills shortage. By helping young people to get into work with the proper training and qualifications we can ensure the sustainability of our own business and the wider communities in which we work.”
Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, said: “Organisations that do not invest in the next generation are not only failing to secure their own future, they are also failing in their responsibility to the young people of the UK. For Thales to remain at the forefront of the UK’s engineering and technology projects, and more broadly for the UK to have the right level of engineering and technical skills to meet future global demand, we must ensure we have excellent training and development programmes in place. Thales has a strong culture of training and development that stretches back decades and we have developed a comprehensive suite of training experiences for young people – including our excellent graduate development programme, apprentice schemes, internships and other mentoring initiatives that combine learning and working. Our membership of The 5% Club demonstrates Thales Group’s long-term commitment to training and Thales UK’s commitment to the young people of the UK.”
Dstl’s Chief Executive Jonathan Lyle said: “As a public sector science and technology organisation, Dstl is delighted to join The 5% club. We are passionate about supporting and employing young people by offering a variety of opportunities including apprenticeships, industrial placements, Year In Industry placements and graduate opportunities – they bring innovation and fresh ideas into our workforce as well as helping us to play our part in addressing the UK’s skills shortages.”
Leo Quinn, CEO of QinetiQ Group PLC, a founder member of The 5% Club, said: “The breadth of different organisations to have signed up – from construction to law – shows how widely youth unemployment is seen as a national issue – and how much industry wants to raise our skills training in the UK.
“This is a terrific start to 2014 for The 5% Club and we urge other companies to follow Balfour Beatty, Thales, Osborne Clarke, DSTL and Attenda in signing up.”
The 5% Club campaign, launched in early October, is open to every company in the UK. Members must publicly report their progress on the 5% target in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) section of their Annual Report and Accounts or equivalent.
It is believed this is the first time companies in the UK will have made the commitment to measure and report their performance against such a target.