Abbott, one of Ireland’s leading health care companies, has won an Award at the European Employee Volunteering Awards 2011, which took place in London recently. The Awards recognise companies across Europe with employee volunteer programmes that help people increase their employability skills. The annual awards are held in conjunction with European Year of Volunteering 2011 and co-funded by the European Commission. 250 submissions from 136 companies across 22 participating countries were considered for European volunteering awards this year.
Abbott won the ‘Newcomer’ category for its employee volunteering efforts in respect of the company’s innovative science education programmes – Abbott Family Science and Operation Discovery. In addition, Abbott was recognised for its participation in Business in the Community Ireland’s Schools’ Business Partnership programme.
The ‘Newcomer Award’ award is in recognition of programmes in the early stage of development that have the most potential to deliver good results over the coming years. This European-wide award follows Abbott’s recent success at the national stages of these awards when the company was named Overall Winner in Ireland for its volunteer efforts.
More than 180 Abbott employees have volunteered in the past 18 months through the Family Science and Operation Discovery programme, which are bespoke science education programmes that stimulate children’s interest in science and discovery at both primary and post primary levels. Abbott volunteers have shared their scientific expertise and reached more than 1,500 students, parents and teachers at 18 schools across Ireland. 80 per cent of student’s who participated in the Family Science programme said that they would enjoy studying science after completion of the programme, an increase from 41 per cent of students prior to the event. 80 per cent of parents who took part stated that they were likely to discuss careers in science and engineering with their children after participating in the programme, compared to 37 per cent of respondents prior to the programme.
These science programmes have built on Abbott Ireland’s other volunteering programmes that are helping increase students’ employment opportunities. For the past seven years, Abbott Ireland has participated in the Schools’ Business Partnership, which provides careers training to disadvantaged secondary schools. Abbott employees across Ireland are providing business skills training and advice to nearly 160 students. 80 per cent of students participating in the Schools’ Business Partnership programme said it changed their view of education and the importance of completing the Leaving Certificate.
Katharine Jensen, CSR Manager Abbott Ireland commenting on the Award said; “We are delighted to be presented with this prestigious international award in recognition of the work of our employee volunteers. There is a strong ethos of volunteering among Abbott employees. Last year alone, Abbott employees in Ireland volunteered more than 8,000 hours in their local communities around the country and organised more than 180 events to support charitable organisations.”