As can be seen from our blogs this week, supporting a student placement can help kick start the process of meaningfully thinking about environmental sustainability or take forward that environmental review that has been waiting for some free time that never comes.
Organisations must have a current large grant being delivered in Scotland from Big Lottery Fund to take up this opportunity. They will be asked to provide a supervisor for the duration of the student placement, desk space and support for the student during the placement and commit to share the learning from the placement.
The Bright Green Business team will work with the successful organisations to develop a project description which is then advanced into a job advertisement. Once advertised, applications are received from interested students or post-graduates. The Bright Green Business team sift through applications and begin shortlisting candidates. The shortlisted candidates are given preliminary questions and their applications are then sent to the host businesses to consider. Bright Green Business then arranges interviews for the shortlisted candidates agreed by the host organisation. Once the successful candidate has been offered the position, Bright Green Business contract with the host organisation and the student/graduate. Bright Green Business will be responsible for payroll.
The successful student/graduate is assigned a mentor during the process and is supplied with an induction pack to help guide them through their placement. Their Bright Green Business mentor helps to make sure all objectives are met and that there are no issues or concerns during the project.
Once a placement is complete, each student/graduate will complete a report and case study to measure the progress and outcomes of the project. There will also be a learning event in November 2016 where students and host organisations come together to share their experiences.
If you would like to host a student placement and are a current Investing in Communities grant holder please complete the attached Expression of Interest – Year 2 application and return it to this email address by mid-day 16th May.
The form is very simple just looking for a short description of the project being proposed for the student placement, the desired outcomes of the placement and any specific requirements about the student. Please remember the placement is for 10 weeks so your proposal should be realistically deliverable in this time.
As one of four environmental awareness blogs this week, Kerr Adams shares some of his experiences about his placement at Furniture Plus, the largest furniture re-use, recycling and repair organisation in Fife. The main aim of the charity is to combat poverty and social exclusion, especially homelessness, whilst generating core income to sustain the project.
Kerr said: “Before my placement there were no in-house recycling methods and energy management was poor. In a bid to increase environmental performance in these areas new waste and energy management plans were introduced to achieve zero waste in-house by the year 2017.
“To help staff understand the impact of recycling their waste I placed notices throughout the store to bring the impact of landfilling waste into perspective, these included facts and figures. I also added a notice to the main office in the Dysart store which allowed staff to see what percentage of waste had been recycled and landfilled that week offering another positive way of engaging staff, as targets were set for constant improvement.
“A new recycling bin system was introduced, however, the decision to remove the majority of general waste bins from the store was unpopular amongst the staff, particularly challenging was removing the general waste bins in the staff kitchen to encourage staff to take their waste to a recycling point. During the first two weeks of implementing these changes staff would often create their own general waste bin in the kitchen area but after constant reminders and engaging with staff this stopped and recycling rates increased. Within a couple of weeks the changes soon became habit and staff started to take pride in the fact that they are doing something positive.
“I also identified small areas where energy performance could be improved. This included simple things such as turning off lights when not in use and turning off electrical appliances at the end of the night.
Gail Jackson his supervisor at Furniture Plus was extremely positive about the placement.
“Kerr is extremely motivated and very passionate in helping Furniture Plus reduce and save. He puts in 100% effort in all he is tasked with. It is nice to see all of our staff, placements and volunteers engaging in the changes that Kerr has implemented.”
Kerr is one of a number of students who have been placed with organisations as part of a Big Lottery Fund and Bright Green Business environmental awareness initiative.
Following yesterday’s blog we thought you might be interested in hearing more about the student placements. Citizen’s Advice Bureau – one in Motherwell and the other in Angus – both have sought to develop and implement an Environmental Policy.
Kinga Kosakaowska who supervised the placement at Motherwell & Wishaw CAB said: “Our expectations were exceeded during Maria’s environmental placement. She impressed us with her flexible and innovative approach to introducing energy efficiency measures.
“Maria came into an unknown environment dealing with unique processes and procedures required by CAB and adapted quickly. She produced our environmental policy as well as an energy efficiency and carbon footprint report containing a number of recommendations.
“Maria was really keen to support staff to consider environmental issues. Changing behaviour doesn’t happens overnight, but she did get people thinking. Some simple but effective measures were introduced to improve waste management, to move towards a paperless office and contribute toward achieving energy efficiency.”
Maria also believes the placement was “one of the most thought-provoking experiences I ever had”.
She said: “Visiting people in their homes to conduct domestic energy surveys in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland, I feel that my communication skills and ability to engage with people from all walks of life have been majorly enhanced.”
Kieran Ronnie, on placement in Angus Citizens Advice Bureau shares his experience.
“I began the placement by undertaking an Environmental Audit to identify the areas where the organisation was performing well, where the gaps and potential improvements or changes could be made, and to determine the areas of focus for the Environmental Policy. After discussing my findings with senior management I developed an action plan to put my recommendations into place, resulting in establishing recycle bins and water saving measures. I also created an environmental awareness board to facilitate a positive, greener change in attitude and behaviour. The Environmental Policy was adopted by all three offices.”
Janice Fullerton of Angus Citizens Advice Bureau was also positive about the placement: “Kieran was like a breath of fresh air. He established himself expeditiously. He undertook a wide variety of tasks with enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism. He has provided our organisation with valuable resources to ensure our environmental sustainability.”
Environmental sustainability is a hot topic and the expectations on charities to address these issues are growing. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Bright Green Business to support 10 grant holders a year for three years to increase their environmental awareness, change behaviours and improve their environmental sustainability.
The initiative provides paid work experience to a student with an expertise in the field. They are then supported by an experienced environmental advisor to offer a grant holder project focused, low cost practical support for approximately 50 days.
This week as the end of the first year of the contract closes we hear how the enthusiasm and innovative ideas students bring can kick start the process.
Galin Zhivkov was placed with the Point and Sandwick Trust on the Isle of Lewis to help them begin the process of gaining what is known as an ISO 14001, taking them through the first and second stages of this Environmental Management System. As part of the process he helped the community set clear targets on environmental impacts. He also aided the development to consider not only the impact towards the physical health and tangible property of the population, but also towards the imperceptible, priceless heritage of their unique culture.
Donald John MacSween from Point and Sandwick Trust said: “We were very pleased indeed with the work Galin undertook for us, and my Board have approved his report and will follow the action plan for implementation. Galin was not set an easy task, in a very rural and unfamiliar environment. He undertook his work enthusiastically, with great diligence and dedication and completed the job on time and very much to our satisfaction.”
For more background, read our previous blog inviting grantholders to note their interest for year one.
As a member of the Big Advice team, we regularly speak with our funding colleagues to ensure that we are providing the best possible advice. Awards for All is our most popular fund, so I’ve asked five Awards for All Funding Officers “What should an applicant include in their application?“ here’s what they said:
Peter Watson – “I would like you to provide a good breakdown of costs requested, especially in relation to sessional staff (hourly rate and hours worked per week). Also, I would like to know any details of any partnership working or volunteering involved in the project.”
Shaunagh Jones – “I want to know why the project is needed within your community; it’s good to cite SIMD statistics and statutory reports, but I want to know why your project will have an effect on these, if there’s a demand for the activities and how will you engage people? It is also good to know where the match funding will come from, if you need any.”
Ulrik Westen-Jensen – “I would like you to provide an estimate of the number of people who will benefit from your project. Instead of putting ‘numerous’ or ‘many’, provide a number so that we can get an idea of the proportion. Although each project is unique, I would like to know whether the grant applied for, will have an impact on 10 or 100 people.”
Stephen Cox – “Tell us about your project and not just the history of your group. Tell us what you want to do and why you want to do it – then explain who the project benefit and how it will benefit this group. Use plain English and make sure to apply in the correct name. Lastly, don’t submit an application and then leave the country for 6 weeks!”
Michael Smart – “I would suggest that you don’t just quote statistics on poverty and deprivation in your area – make sure to include how your project addresses these local issues and how it will help the people affected. The best evidence comes from the people your organisation wants to help – what change do they want to see in their community?”
A few of the Funding Officers gave the same tips; so here are the Top five:
1) Don’t just quote statistics on poverty and deprivation in your area – make sure to include how your project addresses these local issues and how it will help the people affected.
3) Provide any details of match funding.
2) Provide an estimate of the number of people who will benefit from your project.
4) Provide a breakdown of costs requested, especially in relation to sessional staff.
5) Don’t just provide the history of your group – tell us what you want and why you want to do it!
I hope this has given you a few tips to include in your Awards for All application. If you have any questions, just get in touch to chat about your project idea. You can reach us on our Big Advice line by calling 0300 123 7110 or you can send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck!!