Vinci UK offers mentor scheme to staff

EXCLUSIVE: Vinci UK has offered employees the opportunity to mentor members of the armed forces who are resettling into civilian life.

The opportunity is through its partnership with charity Help for Heroes, part of the construction company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, which also includes partnerships with three other charities: The Princes Trust, The Duke of Edinburgh Award and Construction Youth Trust.

Colin Jellicoe, HR and employee relations director at Vinci UK, said: “For us, it’s a huge engagement piece. But equally, the armed forces are a potential source of recruitment for us, particularly for the numbers leaving the armed forces and with the skills shortages in construction.”

Vinci UK began its partnership with Help for Heroes during a project at Tedworth House Recovery Centre in the garrison town of Tidworth, Wiltshire. Part of the project required some work to be sub-contracted and the firm was able to find opportunities in its supply chain for army veterans to get involved in jobs, such as bricklayer and electrician.

After this project, Vinci UK discovered that a number of its 4,500 employees were interested in becoming mentors for the charity. “We worked with Help for Heroes to develop the project as a response to finding work opportunities for people,” said Jellicoe. “We went out to our entire workforce and had a huge response.”

From 60 applications, six employees were selected as the first group of mentors in November 2012, and 11 more were chosen for the second group, which are currently being trained.

Following the training programme, employees are sent out to meet the people they have been partnered with, and the mentoring programme begins. Volunteer employees are granted time away from work to complete their mentoring responsibilities.

“It’s a coordinated part of a much broader CSR strategy that we have here,” added Jellicoe. “But it is also part of our development for our staff, developing coaching and mentoring ethos within our business is key.

“These people are not just working with the people from Help for Heroes, but they are project managers within our business. The experience they have mentoring Help for Heroes is a benefit for the staff as well.”