Colleagues from ABP Ireland are supporting local educational programmes through the Business in the Community Schools Partnership Programme. Initiatives include The Skills @ Work programme which involves talking to students about real-life skills required in the workplace. The students also attend site visits, “day in the life” talks, interview preparation and CV writing. They also benefit from mock interviews. Another programme popular with colleagues is the “Time to Read” initiative where they provide reading support to school children with the aim of increasing the enjoyment and confidence of reading. To find out how our colleagues at ABP Clones have been getting on click on the video below.
Workers at ABP Clones have dramatically increased the reading age abilities of children at nearby St Tiarnach’s Primary School, by giving them one-on-one lessons every week.
St Tiarnach’s Primary School Principal Majella Beggan said the ‘Time to Read’ initiative improved the reading ages significantly of the selected ten pupils, with some improving the reading age by two years and one pupil by an impressive three years.
ABP Food Group is a unique integrated agri-business employing 10,000 people across 51 sites in nine countries. This means that its primary business function – processing beef – is supported by three tangential businesses: a pet foods division; a renewables division and a proteins division.
This unique structure ensures that ABP’s products are processed in the most sustainable manner possible. Doing business responsibly is in ABP’s corporate DNA, and the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes extend across the supply chain from farms to processing sites and engagement with local communities.
A typical example is the ‘Time to Read’ programme with Business in the Community at the 265 pupil, co-educational St Tiarnach’s, where children from 12 nationalities are on the roll.
HR manager of ABP Clones Marie Claire Baxter said at the start of the programme each volunteer is matched with two children, who they read with for the duration of the programme.
“This is designed to help children with their reading skills by engaging with volunteers, while it gives the volunteers the opportunity to work with children and encourage their love of reading.
“We do a lot of work with the third level through the ABP graduate programme and engage with secondary level schools with the Angus Beef Society, so it’s our chance to do something new at a primary school level. And it was so successful last year that we’re doing it again,” explained Marie Claire.
St Tiarnach’s Principal Majella Beggan said that at the start of the programme, one child had a reading age of 7.10-year-old today they have a reading age of 10.9.
“That’s an incredible jump, and that’s measurable, but I feel the benefit of this is also the relationship that these children had with you, a positive adult role in their lives. No teacher in the classroom can do that, no matter how hard we work because we don’t have half an hour of individual time to devote to each pupil.”
Ms Beggan said the children didn’t see it as an escape from the classroom.
“They saw it as an opportunity to talk, to read and to enjoy. The fact that their attendances were noticeable good on Wednesdays shows they didn’t want to miss out. Some children should have been at home sick on days, and the mammies would ring and say, ‘look-it when it’s over, you can send them home’. That says a lot.
“Parents, pupils and everyone at the school have been genuinely amazed by the positive progress,” she added.
Principal Beggan. said St Tiarnach’s are delighted to be associated with ABP Clones in this initiative.