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Community

Being a purposeful business

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world - for our business, customers and society as a whole. We do that by bringing together the best networks, technology and people, making connections and creating new possibilities.

We have big ambitions in three main areas:

  • We create great customer experience
  • We bring the benefits of a connected society to everyone
  • We support our communities through our people and technology

We bring that to life in Northern Ireland through a corporate responsibility programme which is accredited through Business in the Community’s responsible business standard, CORE.

Key activities include:

Connectivity and Digital Inclusion

Our business is about connecting people. Research funded by BT shows that the social value to someone going online in the UK is £1,064 a year. However, millions of adults across the UK have never been on line, which is why BT has been running projects to help address this.

As part of this programme, BT in Northern Ireland is supporting a number of digital inclusion initiatives to promote digital inclusion amongst disadvantaged communities. One of these is the Get Connected project we are running in partnership with Choice Housing and Empowering Communities NI. It is helping tenants with a range of social needs build their digital confidence, improve their employability and social mobility, and develop the skills they need to engage in a technology led world. The training is supported by BT volunteers.

Tech Literacy

Technology underpins the modern world. We want to help the next generation understand how it works and embrace its impact in shaping society. We’re doing this in a number of ways.

Primary Years: Barefoot Computing

BT supports the Barefoot Computing programme, which gives primary school teachers the confidence, knowledge, skills and resources they need to teach computer science effectively. In December 2016 Barefoot was launched in Northern Ireland by former Education Minister, Peter Weir, MLA. The resources have been specifically aligned to the Northern Ireland curriculum. Since then, 42% of primary schools have registered to use the resources, 1101 teachers have attended BT volunteer led workshops and it has reached over 29,000 primary school children.

Secondary years: BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is Ireland’s premier STEM event for secondary school pupils. Since its origin in 1963, the BTYSTE has grown from a simple science fair to become one the most highly regarded platforms for encouraging young people to use the foundations of science, technology, engineering and maths to inspire new ideas and new ways of thinking about the world we live in.

The Exhibition itself is the final stage of the competition, which is open to all second level students from Ireland, both north and south. As well as the 550 shortlisted student projects on display each year, there are a further four exhibition halls filled with a primary science section, cutting edge science and technology based exhibits and entertainment, making it a thrilling event for those who enter and for general visitors alike.

BT has been a proud organiser and sponsor of the Exhibition since 2000. In 2018, over 188 BT staff volunteered pre, during and post event, recording an incredible 5,509 volunteer hours.

Getting young people ready for work

We are a founding partner of the Movement to Work initiative, led by UK employers committed to tackling youth unemployment through vocational training and work experience opportunities. We want to help young people kick-start their careers by building the skills they need for the world of work.

Through our Work Ready programme, we give young people a chance to learn business skills and demonstrate they have that all-important work experience. Over 50% of young people who have gone through Work Ready programmes have gone on to education or employment, including some who are now working at BT.

To extend our reach into some of Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities, we launched a new partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and Active Communities Network in June 2017. One-day bootcamps and three-week work placements provide a mix of mentoring and skills training which help young people build confidence and learn skills they need to get a job, including CV writing and interview technique.

The success of the programme relies heavily on staff volunteering to offer work experience, give career talks and help with interview skills practice.

Supporting good causes

We give at least 1% of BT Group pre-tax profits to charities and organisations through a mix of donations and support.

We also support good causes by giving our time, technology and expertise to help raise money.

Every year BT employees across Northern Ireland raise many thousands of pounds for charities and community groups close to their hearts.

Over the past six years, we’ve raised more than £600,000 for Marie Curie and the Irish Cancer Foundation through an annual all island Shop for Change Challenge event.

We also raise significant money through MyDonate, BT’s not-for-profit online fundraising and donation platform. It offers fundraisers a way to make sure more of the money they raise goes to the people who need it most. We don’t take commission and there are no set-up fees – it’s free to use. Through MyDonate, we provide charities and other non-profit organisations with secure online payment processing, call centres and technical support to run major telethons and online appeals.

The Telecommunity Fund

The Telecommunity Fund was established with funding from BT and the CWU in the 1980’s. It is administered by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and issues small grants to grass roots community and voluntary organisations throughout Northern Ireland.

Volunteering

We’ve set a goal to inspire two-thirds of our people to volunteer their time and skills by 2020.

We believe that volunteering not only engages our people in helping society, but also helps our business. We enable employees to take up to three working days a year as volunteer days. We want them to use these days and bring the skills and experience they gain back into their roles with us.

At the end of the financial year 2016/17, 990 staff in Northern Ireland had volunteered 21,805 hours supporting and raising money for local charities close to their hearts.

Energy and Environment

At BT, we aim to help our customers cut their emissions by three times our own carbon impact by 2020.

We’re working hard to improve our own environmental performance. All our energy supply in Northern Ireland is now 100% green energy, generated from renewable resource.

We take part in the annual Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey, run by Business in the Community and have been awarded platinum status for our environmental performance for three years running.

Ulster Rugby

BT is a major supporter of Ulster Rugby.

We have increased fan engagement through sponsorship of the 'BT Cross-bar Challenge', 'BT Speed Test' and 'BT Tweet Seat' competitions.

Our close relationship with Ulster Rugby reflects our wider investment to put rugby at the heart of BT Sport.

For more information see our 2017 Delivering our purpose report