Marks & Spencer (M&S) has recruited some 600 IT executives from its own IT department and its suppliers to volunteer in local community projects on the 19th November.
The volunteer day forms part of the retailer’s environmental and ethical programme, Plan A, which aims to make M&S the most sustainable major retailer by 2015.
As well as the company’s CIO, Darrell Stein, employees from Microsoft, Cognizant, and SAP will be joining the M&S team in a number of activities that have been organised with charity partners.
On the day, volunteers will take part in one of the following projects:
• Helping 200 Abbeyfield care home residents to “reconnect with their past” using online platforms, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter on laptops, iPads and iPhones. This event is being organised by talent management company ReThink.
• Planting 10,000 trees in Heartwood Forest with the Woodland Trust to create a new woodland area for the residents of St Albans. The trees will also offset the carbon emissions generated by the M&S IT office in Stockley Park. This initiative has been organised by Cognizant and SAP, in association with The Prince’s Trust, which is also providing volunteers.
• M&S and Tata Consultancy Services have also ensured that 110 of the IT execs volunteering have trained to become STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) ambassadors by education charity STEMNET. They will visit 15 schools to promote IT as a career choice.
• Help young people from deprived backgrounds by sharing workplace skills and experience, which is being organised by mentoring charity Mosaic. It is hoped that this will help boost young peoples’ confidence and long-term employability prospects.
“More so than ever before, IT can inspire both young and old and we intend to use this power to support local communities and make a difference where it matters,” said Stein.
“At the same time we hope to motivate our own people and our suppliers by making the 19th November one of the most important days in our calendar. But it’s not only about one day.”
He added: “There are activities going on that will leave a legacy of IT equipment and support where it is needed most as we make our contribution to M&S’ eco and ethical programme.”
In other news, M&S was recently said to be engulfed in IT supply chain problems at its major new online distribution centre at Castle Donington in Leicestershire.
The problems at the fully automated distribution centre have caused some M&S trading directors to "express concerns" about putting their lines through the centre, as they fear they won't make it to shops.