CGI knows that global success is dependent on its effectiveness at a local level. This dedication to working within its communities translates to the company’s long-standing commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

The company’s approach to this area has become ever more focused, moving away from having a charity of the year and concentrating its efforts on the communities in which it works.

The programme at CGI, led by Head of CSR Philippa Green, covers a range of activities, as Vice President Lindsay McGranaghan, explains. In its volunteering stream, members take part in activities that help to improve the community – that can involve anything from river-clearing to tree-planting. 

A day volunteering with colleagues is good for the wellbeing of members, who benefit from fresh air, rolling up their sleeves and gaining new skills – while helping the environment.

One programme involves planting a tree for every CGI member in the Scottish Borders, which will offset CGI UK flights for 2018. In addition, the company has purchased another 1,000 trees, which members will distribute to their chosen community groups across the UK.

Members can also volunteer in STEM camps, which CGI plans to bring to Scotland soon, which are about building the next generation of the company. CGI Glasgow has already hosted 10 bright youngsters as part of a day of fun STEM activities, such as programming and 3D printing. 

“We have a solid commitment to mentoring young people,” says Ms McGranaghan. “To help them prepare for the world of work, CGI members have volunteered as mentors through the Career Ready programme. All of the young people being mentored had or will have four-week paid summer internships at CGI in addition to the ongoing support from their mentors, who give up a lot of their own time.”

During those internships, the young people are also introduced to the importance of CSR. Six interns in the Glasgow office were tasked with raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and by organising a bake sale, raised more than £700.

This is also CGI’s third year of Daughter to Work Days. This year, there were nine events throughout the UK, including in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Girls had the opportunity to take part in activities such as programming, engineering, robotics and learning about women in tech.

Lindsay says that the Scotland business has always had a desire to help others in the community at its core. “As part of International Women’s Day, we worked with SmartWorks, a UK charity which provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to women who are finding it difficult to get back into employment. Women are referred to SmartWorks from organisations such as job centres, work programmes, prisons, care homes, homeless shelters, and mental health charities.

“The aim is to promote confidence, to allow a woman to feel that she is at her best at what could be a life-changing moment. The women are also given one-to-one interview coaching, after which 60% of the clients go on to get the job.

“At CGI in Glasgow we collected 109 handbags. A handbag might not seem much at first sight but think of how a woman would attend an interview without one. Small things can help enormously with confidence.” The local offices have also collected for foodbanks, and across the UK more than 1000 pairs of glasses were collected to send to Zambia.

Moving away from having a charity of the year and engaging with what members are already doing in the community has allowed CGI to not only support its members with projects they are passionate about, but also to reach and support a much wider range of community groups and organisations.

“This has allowed us to help at a real grassroots level. That can be, for example, a community group or school, a choir or a sports team. We currently sponsor more than 160 sports kits, schools and community groups, 17 of which are in Scotland,” adds Ms McGranaghan.

“I think our members are proud that they are working with an organisation that is doing this. Often with big organisations, they can be viewed as faceless and distant. That definitely does not apply to CGI.”