We are determined to deliver community value by creating opportunities for children and young people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their potential and improve their employability. Low social mobility is a major challenge and we want to help disadvantaged youth gain access to quality education and decent work, in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
There is a well-documented skills gaps in construction and infrastructure; and a new set of skills is required for the future of our industry. We have an opportunity and responsibility to upskill the next generation, inspiring people from all backgrounds to consider careers in construction.
A key focus is breaking down the barriers that stop children going to school and inhibit their attainment. Our Cape Town office has run a successful toy library for several years to support the physical, mental and social development of children through play. This year we set up a new toy library in Mossel Bay, in collaboration with partners, PetroSA and Edengro.
In 2016 we raised £75,636 for our Action for Children education fund, which provides 746 grants to help disadvantaged children and young people with school essentials. In Australia, our teams have also been helping children to get the most out of their education with book appeals and fundraising for the Smith Family charity.
We want children and young people to feel like they can achieve anything and engage directly with schools to help raise aspirations.
Our UK schools programme is delivered with local authorities, clients and academic partners. We are implementing tailored programmes for eleven schools and inspiring children through inspirational talks, technology workshops, reading schemes and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) competitions.
Our aim is to equip children and young people with the confidence, skills and knowledge to achieve their life and career goals. We support career mentoring and employability programmes such as INJAZ UAE in the Middle East, Career Ready in the UK and JINC in the Netherlands.
This year we offered 106 apprenticeships, work placements and school leaver opportunities. In the US, we support the Year Up programme, an initiative that tackles the opportunity divide by providing six month placements for young people.
We encourage all our people to support local communities and provide paid volunteering days, pro bono projects and fundraising support. To increase our impact, we are establishing more strategic community partnerships and will continue to empower our people to take social action. This includes a target to increase the percentage of our people using their corporate volunteer day to 30 percent globally in 2017–18.