ADIPEC 2023 - In-country value - it's more than a contractual obligation
The world is falling far behind in achieving quality education which in turn improves the life chances of children all around the world. Access to education is a tool of empowerment, critical to a sustainable world and vital to the economy and industry of all shapes and sizes. According to the UN without urgent action 300 million students will lack basic numeracy and literacy skills.
As part of our commitment to help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), we united our business behind a single cause over the last four years – quality education – supporting the UN SDG4, committing our talent and support in the communities we operate, aligning our efforts to the global sustainable development agenda through local action.
As part of our sustainability goals we have set ourselves a mission to invest a minimum of $10M USD into community educational support through our time and resources, including direct donation. Our Global Cause Challenge, a programme in which we conduct a periodic competitive grant award, is now a fundamental part of Wood’s Community Investment approach, supporting educational based projects around the globe that demonstrate our values of care, commitment and courage.
Each year our people are invited to take part in this programme by nominating organisations that reflect and champion this. Open to all, the challenge is an opportunity to gain support for activities in alignment with our Global Cause, so that we can make a true impact around the world by taking collective action on a local level.
Image: Wood employee Susan Richardson at the Aberdeen Sports Village, a former beneficiary of the Global Cause Challenge programme
As we celebrate the sixth annual International Day of Education, I am pleased to share that our employees have once again selected education as our Wood Global Cause for 2024.
We are passionate about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. By working with schools, colleges and other groups, we are developing and delivering activities that highlight STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects in a fun and engaging way.
In 2023, we supported 23 applications for educational causes across nine countries. Two of these causes were the Wuyagiba Study Hub in Australia and the Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids (BB4CK) in Canada.
A remote outstation in South-east Arnhem land located around 622 miles from Darwin, Australia, the Wuyagiba Study Hub, described as an educational lifeline for Aboriginal young people, brings pre-university courses to the community, allowing students to access higher education otherwise unattainable due to distance, tradition and strong family ties.
The westernised concept of education is vastly different from an Aboriginal standpoint and leaving home to study thousands of miles away can be a daunting and overwhelming barrier for many. Therefore, the Hub represents a crucial step for Aboriginal young people, bridging the gap between a university education and their deep connection with country.
In 2017, the first three young people from the Ngukurr community in 30 years started studying at university and around 20 students a year since 2018 have begun university courses with the first graduate completing this year.
Wood’s donation will go towards further airstrip upgrades to improve the provision of supplies, emergency medical care and transport to the study hub. Earlier this year the airstrip was cleared, graded, and had the first aircraft land on it in more than 20 years.
Previously, access to and from the hub was via a two-hour drive from Ngukurr or Numbulwar, making it difficult to access emergency services like hospitals, doctors or medical supplies. In addition, further funds were used to support the expansion of the study hub to other remote Aboriginal communities nearby, evidence of the hub’s desire to expand and evolve.
Image: Students and teachers from the Wuyagiba Study Hub
In Calgary, Canada, the stark reality is that around one in 10 households are living below the poverty line and do not have secure access to food due to financial constraints. The problem is growing, and research shows that food insecurity in children is strongly linked to mental health problems and behavioural issues.
Currently BB4CK is feeding children in over two thirds of Calgary's schools. In some schools, the team is supporting just one child, and in others, every student. As a community-funded charity, donations like the one from Wood are important to help purchase fresh ingredients for food preparation and to allow the charity to provide funding directly to the schools.
Last year, Wood’s early careers professionals in Calgary volunteered their time to prepare baked goods with BB4CK and applied funding from the Global Cause Challenge to deliver STEM presentations to grade 3-5 students, on top of funding for the schools to dedicate towards future STEM initiatives. This built upon the funds dedicated to the charity in 2021 and 2022 to support its school lunch programme, enabling them to provide free lunches for school children from food-insecure backgrounds.
Image: Wood employees volunteering with BB4CK
In addition to our Global Cause, our Employee Matched Funding programme also shows Wood’s commitment to the myriad of meaningful causes our employees care about throughout the year. However, we believe our role goes beyond the money we donate. How we show up in the communities we share is equally important.
Through the delivery of our sustainability community investment goal to 'give our time, resources and funding to contribute $10 million to our global causes by 2030' we are also advancing the UN SDGs. Click here to learn more about our commitment to these goals.