Our member companies employ directly or through their supply chains in excess of a quarter of a million people. The business rate contributions we make support local services. We actively encourage best practice in employment policy, including employee engagement and diversity and adoption of the Living Wage.
We invest in our people and communities right across the North West. Manchester Airport, one of our member businesses, has put over 1087 people back to work since 2009. Offering work for the long-term unemployed provides a vulnerable group in our society with the opportunity to make a valuable contribution and become a stakeholder in the region’s development. In addition to this, another member, Virgin Trains, currently employs 27 ex-offenders. Working with groups that may have once felt outside of the social fabric of the region helps us to create a cohesive environment where the skills and talents of all are used for the North West’s social and economic advancement. It is clear that we have much more still to do to address the dislocation and alienation felt by many North West communities, but progress is being made.
In addition to our work with vulnerable groups, the NWBLT’s members have invested in excess of £30 million in projects over the last two years, making a positive difference to lives across our region. We will contribute to the task of business having a more positive and stronger impact on society, creating a more positive narrative for the future of all the people of the North West.
One specific project NWBLT members have supported as a group is the My Planet programme run by Z-arts based in Hulme, Manchester. Z-arts worked with Class 4P (pupils aged 8/9) at Webster Primary School in Hulme for 12 months commencing in early 2017. Z-arts delivered a range of subjects through the creative arts including: volcanoes & earthquakes through sculpture, the digestive system through stand-up comedy and physical performance, sound through music, fractions through mosaics and much more. Please see below a video showing the My Planet experience.
As part of the My Planet Pilot, Z-arts arranged visits with members of NWBLT to support the project’s aims of inspiring creative and curious learners by showcasing the opportunities available in the North West. These visits included a trip to Alstom’s Manchester Train Depot. During their visit the children took part in scanning train parts using their own hands, driving a model engine, the process of starting a Pendolino, watched an intercity Pendolino tilt, trains getting cleaned in the train wash and even had their lunch in a 1st class carriage. The pupils also took part in a BASF inspired workshop with Lorelly Wilson from The University of Manchester.
The third visit was to Arup in Manchester City Centre. The day was run by Arup staff volunteers who worked hard to challenge the stereotypes that the children held as to who would work as an engineer within the company. Throughout this visit and the whole project the children were presented with fantastic role models and inspirational figures, often presented from a personal angle helping the children to put themselves in the place of the professionals presenting to and supporting them. The final trip was to Daresbury Laboratories, based near Warrington, and was very relevant to My Planet. The pupils took part in the Big Telescopes workshop; including a star studied visit to the Planetarium, holding a piece of an ancient meteor and researching the Milky Way.
All the visits and creative learning across the curriculum have created a valuable project with many depths and these are currently being independently evaluated by Jude Robinson, Professor of the Anthropology of Health and Illness, Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology in School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool.