EXCLUSIVE: Visa Europe is to provide training to employees this month, before they embark on UK-wide volunteering assignments.
The credit card company’s volunteering programme, which has been in place for several years, enables staff to develop skills by working directly with local communities.
Through the Arc Building Better Business programme, which is coordinated by Business in the Community (BITC) and Social Enterprise UK, staff have the opportunity to take part in a training session at Visa Europe’s offices in Paddington, London.
The training programme will include details about the Arc scheme, information about the different volunteering roles available, and the skills and time commitment required. The Arc team will also conduct a skills profile for each employee volunteer to ensure they are matched to the right type of activity.
In 2012, more than 15% of Visa Europe’s 1,700 employees volunteered in school-related activities in communities around its offices in Basingstoke, Paddington and Reading. It matches employees’ volunteering time with up to three paid days per year, and offers staff the chance to donate to charity through payroll.
Fiona Wilkinson, senior vice president of corporate communications at Visa Europe, said: “Volunteering and fundraising are central to our culture. We know that our contribution to the community relies on our employees, so when they give their time to good causes, we want them to benefit too.”
The organisation also introduced volunteering opportunities to its European offices in 2012, which has seen teams in France, Germany and Turkey take part in volunteering activities. Wilkinson added: “We have enthusiastic employees across our European offices who want to volunteer.
“Where there is this enthusiasm, we encourage people to shape their activity within a broad unifying theme, such as supporting economic growth or protecting and empowering young people.”
Employees in France are working in partnership with Premiers de Cordée, which uses sport to facilitate physical activity and boost morale among children who are in hospital. Paris-based staff can volunteer on a monthly basis with Premiers de Cordée, helping with sports workshops at 12 hospitals across Paris.
In Germany, employee volunteers joined forces with Barclaycard to support a ‘Family Day’ for a Hamburg-based community project. In Turkey, employees have organised cultural visits for youth who participate in a financial education programme called ‘I can manage my money’ operated by Visa Europe and its member banks.
“Variety is important, so there are many different ways for staff to get involved,” said Wilkinson. “It’s a two way thing; not only does it benefit local communities, but it helps our employee engagement levels too. And we know that engaged employees tend to be more motivated employees.”