Our partner Fundar tells us about the ENGAGE Valencia project which enables the transfer of skills from corporate volunteers to high school children and prisoners in Valencia with the aim of increasing their employability prospects as well as supporting female victims of domestic violence.
Can you tell us about a key CSR issue your organisation is focussing on at the moment?
Nowadays, much of the CSR activities in our country are focused on trying to improve the access to employment for groups at risk of social exclusion. In Spain, the unemployment rates are very high and the situation is difficult for certain groups such as young people that leave schools, people leaving prison, women victims of gender violence. Through its Corporate Volunteering programme, Fundar is trying to help these people to enter into employment or to create self- employment, using the skills of corporate volunteers in companies of ENGAGE Valencia programme.
Can you tell us about a programme you are running?
We are currently in the fourth edition of ENGAGE Valencia programme. Through this programme and with the support of BITC, our corporate volunteers play a vital role in addressing social challenges by transferring a wide range of skills and resources to three different targets:
- High Schools, where we aim to prevent school drop-out and to give pupils employability skills. ENGAGE Valencia has connected companies (through their volunteers) with High Schools by developing different activities that seek to achieve the objectives of some of the experimental programmes of the Education Department of the Valencia Regional Government.
- Prisions, with prisoners who are studying vocational training, and in looking for employment. The programme aims to give new tools to improve the employability of prisoners promoting self-employment (their ability to create their own small businesses), and giving them employability skills. Volunteers work for 3 months with these prisoners teaching them how can they launch their small businesses, from an idea to implementation (procedures, public grants, …). These activities are complemented with employability skills: how to handle a job interview or how to improve their CV, etc
- Women victims of domestic violence. Through this project, women are supported in finding employment through training and mentoring of volunteers from ENGAGE companies.
Can you tell us about your strategic vision for the next 5-10 years?
The Fundar Mission is “to inspire, promote and encourage volunteering and solidarity in the Valencia Region” of Spain. Our strategic CSR vision is to get that Corporate Volunteering becomes an engine of economic and social growth of groups at risk of exclusion, taking advantage of the experience of businesses, their energy and the know-how of their volunteers. Through the expansion of a strategic Corporate Volunteering, we will maximize impact and achieve credible programmes before the community and the employees
Do any of your campaigns or programmes rely on businesses collaborating to achieve a common goal?
Our main CSR campaign (ENGAGE Valencia) is based, like the rest of the ENGAGE programmes worldwide, in the collaboration with a group of companies that work on common social projects. We have proceedings in which volunteers from 3 or 4 companies collaborate with the same group of young and female victims of domestic violence, each contributing with his/her know-how to maximize the impact.
Our experience tells us that companies do not mind working with other companies (even competitors) in such programmes, on the contrary, it is something that is very well received, even by the volunteers.
In our opinion, the main barrier is the absence of more collaborative programmes. Therefore, the role played by BITC through ENGAGE programmes expansion is extremely important to set an example of how to teamwork.