EBSI were invited to work alongside the High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Graham Barker to host a conference called EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL – Breaking Down Barriers in November 2018.
The conference was intended to bring together companies who could demonstrate how social value delivers commercial value. Speakers from Manpower Group, Argos, Recycling Lives and John Lewis and Partners, were in attendance and gave presentations with examples of business cases to illustrate how offering employment to those with a disability and ex-offenders can improve business practice. Leonard Cheshire Chief Executive – Neil Heslop OBE, also spoke about working with the loss of his eye sight at a very young age and explained how he had not let his disability hinder his progress.
Spring Hill Prison also attended, and two ex-offenders delivered presentations explaining how going into employment when coming out of prison had changed their lives.
All business speakers gave an insight into how their companies, had or were in the process of embedding this element into their Corporate Social Responsibility within business practice and processes and were now reaping the benefits.
The conference which was held at the Odney Club conference centre, which is run by John Lewis and Partners, in Cookham, saw over 60 attendees from companies from not only Berkshire, but national companies from further afield.
There was also an opportunity for the businesses to network with other likeminded leaders that are interested in finding out how diversity and equality adds value into their business, as well as the opportunity to approach charities who had stands at the conference to discuss how they can start the process.
The High Sheriff had instigated the conference as he stated “it is clear to me that organisations can derive so many advantages from embedding social value in business and I am keen to encourage more companies to benefit from this enlightened approach”.
EBSI Director – Jamela Khan approached many of the companies that we work with to invite them to attend the events. Companies such as Marriott International, Metro Bank, Heathrow, British Airways, Costain and other key players attended the event which saw over 60 businesses in attendance, with feedback stating they would like further opportunities like this to network, build on their businesses own Corporate Social Responsibility agenda and share good practice to help move their companies forward to look at the employment of ex-offenders and those with disabilities.