Why Social Value Engagement Programmes Are a Win For All
Social Value – An Integral Part of Version 1
Read time: 5 mins
At Version 1 we believe that Social Value impacts every area of our business. Which is why we have ensured that our Social Value objectives are consistently present throughout the organisation for our people, customers and communities.
Social Value at Version 1 has been awarded a Social Value Quality Mark Level 1. Organisations earn this recognition when they create a transparent, legitimate and trustworthy system which measures Social Value, demonstrating the extent of their impact in a way that can be understood by a wide range of stakeholders, to recognise their achievements in establishing a company culture that drives excellence for all stakeholders.
As part of our social value programme with Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, we recently embarked on a project with New City College. This organisation provides trainee roles, placement opportunities, and employability skills training for young people re-entering education.
“At Version 1, social value is becoming the engine to drive improvement at our organisation. Through programmes that work directly with colleges, third sector networks, and most importantly, with people who are under-represented in tech and are impacted by our industry: we can gain new understanding of social impact, identify hidden talent that will drive our diversity, and be part of networks and conversations that provide hidden, valuable perspectives on people, planet and the role of tech to improve sustainability”
– Jude McVitty, Social Value Manager, Version 1
Partnering with New City College to Create Accessible Workshops
New City College (NCC) is based out of multiple campuses across Greater London. They provide Education to young adults aged 16+, local school leavers, SEND (Special education Needs and Disabilities) students, adults, and those looking to gain higher education qualifications. NCC wanted a programme delivered for eight students with a SEND statement, over four days. They also wanted to build an engagement model which could be used for future students.
The sessions would support the students to:
- improve communication and presentation skills
- encourage creative thinking and user focussed design
- explore the core concepts of design thinking processes
- deliver tasks to an agreed standard and timeline
Delivering A Design Thinking Workshop
Step 1: Designing the sessions
Our Social Value team hit the ground running. We worked with content from the Consultancy Challenge programme, a hackathon style event delivered in one week for 48 students from 3 colleges across the UK in 2022. Our Head of UK Design, Pamela Woods, and Sylvia Faja, Senior Curriculum Manager of SEND at NCC collaborated with our teams to design a four-session programme.
Through these sessions, we wanted to help students to explore the key concepts of design thinking in logical, exercise–based steps. Design thinking is a problem-solving process that develops creativity and therefore produces unique ideas by encouraging a wide variety of solutions, embracing experimentation and thinking out of the box.
Accessibility to the course and flexibility during the course were two key factors we kept in mind during the design and delivery of the course.
Our Social Value delivery model is unique as it gives the delivery team flexibility to adapt to meet the needs of our participants and partners, we put the needs of our customers, participants, and collaborators first.
Step 2: Conducting the Session – Exploring Empathy in Design
This session was delivered over four days. Students were asked ‘How can technology help people communicate better with people who have communication difficulties?’
During the course of these sessions, the students learned to conduct research and organise their findings, work with online research tools, identify problem statements, collaborate in a team, and share peer feedback and reviews.
Step 3: Pitching and Idea Testing
On the third day of the programme, students tested their ideas with each other, and provided feedback before selecting their final idea. The last day of the programme was focussed on expressing their ideas using visual communication tools. They created A3 posters to support their presentations..
Each presentation consisted of:
- Their problem statement
- Their solution: What it is? How will it work?
- How it is different to what is already out there?
- How will it change people’s lives for the better?
Step 4: Reflections, reviews, learning, and unlearning
This pilot programme was successful in many ways especially, from a learning perspective, which will enable us to improve our workshops. We received feedback from our delivery team as well as support workers.
Some of the key takeaways were:
1. Reworking the language and terminologies used
2. Discontinuing some aspects of the online training as they were not as engaging as in-person elements
3. Setting up more opportunities to work in a groups as the delivery team observed more engagement from the students.
Moving forward, we will create workbooks for students to capture their thoughts and reflections during the project and also include mentor sessions.
Ending On a Positive Note – Social Value Engagement
Overall, the students, delivery team and support workers delivered 128 people training hours. It is also encouraging to note that 100% of the students completed the programme.
The students told us they had pushed themselves to succeed in the programme, and support workers reflected this sentiment by saying they were impressed by the high standard of work put forth by the students during the workshop.
At Version 1, we believe that by sharing our experience, more employers will see the merit and positive impact projects like this can have in the communities we live and work in.
About Version 1
Version 1 proves that IT can make a real difference to our customers’ businesses. We are trusted by global brands to deliver IT services and solutions which drive customer success. Our team of difference-makers work tirelessly to provide independent advice and deliver impactful changes to help our customers navigate the rapidly changing Digital-First world we live in. Our greatest strength is balance in our efforts to achieve Customer Success, Empowered People and a Strong Organisation, underpinned by a commitment to our values. We believe this is what makes Version 1 different and more importantly, our customers agree.
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