As a Group, we get to work on projects in a diverse mix of communities. This has helped us to understand the significant social issues that stem from low paid jobs, low levels of education and an absence of skills necessary for employment.
Additionally, our work with Housing New Zealand puts us in regular contact with vulnerable groups such as people suffering mental illness, addictions, physical impairments, as well as refugee populations and victims of family violence.
We recognise that as a business, we are well positioned to lead community initiatives that generate positive social outcomes for these groups.
Our Social Impact Strategy
Our Social Impact Strategy focuses on providing a hand up to vulnerable New Zealanders by helping people access and maintain meaningful employment.
We achieve this through innovative partnerships with local community organisation and by incorporating social procurement into our supply chain.
Here are a few of our current initiatives:
1) Community Trust Partnership Program:
We have established partnerships with Kaiapoi Community Care and Employment Trust and Shirley Community Trust to address high unemployment rates (particularly amongst youth). We help to provide employment and training to those that need it, by engaging the Trust as a sub-contractor to carry out carpentry and painting work and providing on-the-job mentorship.
2) Procurement for Good:
We’ve opted to purchase window sashes and frames produced by Odyssey House Trust as part of our social procurement stream.
By using Odyssey as a supplier, we enable them to offer practical skills training for people recovering from addiction through their Drug Rehabilitation Programme, whilst providing a steady revenue stream for the Trust so that they can help more people.
Additionally, we purchase window sashes, frames and wooden frames for electrical switched boards from Kilmarnock Enterprises. Kilmarnock employs people with intellectual disabilities, providing them with meaningful employment and training.
It gives us great pleasure to support the hugely impactful work both Kilmarnock and Odyssey do by making them a part of our supply chain.
3) Mentoring the next generation
Switched On has partnered with BCITO and Hillmorton High School to provide work experience opportunities for Year 12 & 13 students and has committed to provide work experience for a student two days per week during the school year. Switched On encourages their sub-contractors to also provide these opportunities and facilitates this process.
We see this as being a small investment on our part, that can potentially make a significant difference to the life of a young person who may be considering a career in the trades.
4) Paying the Living Wage
At Switched On, our people are our best asset. We are committed to paying all of our employees the Living Wage and we’re currently going through the process of becoming an Accredited Living Wage Employer.
Our values relate to respect, the importance of family and having each other’s backs. We think paying our employees a fair wage that enables them and their families to meet their needs is not only in line with our values, but a basic right given the great work they do.