‘Game changer’ partnership with Together Energy helps Widening Access students secure jobs during pandemic

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A partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Together Energy has helped 83 widening access or care-experienced students to gain part-time jobs.

The company, which  approached the University following an increase in customer numbers which required additional staff, has an ethical recruitment process that aims to support individuals and communities facing hardship.

Over the summer, the University made students from the most-challenged postcodes, as identified by the Scottish Government, and those with experience of the care system aware of opportunities with Together Energy.

Fantastic opportunity

Together Energy’s HR and recruitment provider, French Duncan, hired more than 80 students as call centre staff, working from home and paid the Glasgow Living Wage of £9.30 an hour for 15 hours per week over three evening shifts as part of a one-year apprenticeship.

Stephanie McKendry, Head of Access, Equality and Inclusion at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Many students rely on part-time jobs for income during the course of their academic careers and it can mean the difference between being able to continue their studies or not.

“Many have jobs within the hospitality sector which was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. By working with Together Energy, we were able to help some of our students who are most reliant on income from work to continue their degrees. Our students have been given a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop at a forward-thinking company while earning the money they need to support their university studies

We’d like to expand this programme with other employers to help our students secure income that helps them to successfully complete their studies.”

Paul Richards, Chief Executive Officer of Together Energy, said: Working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde has been a game changer for Together Energy. This partnership has allowed us to discover a talent pool of outstanding quality who can support us in achieving our business aims in the short and long term, alongside the students being able to continue with their higher education despite a difficult climate.

“It really is a winning formula for all, and I hope this project excites other employers too. A big thank you is also due to the team at French Duncan who supported us throughout the project and helped make this idea a reality.”

Associate Principal and Executive Dean of Strathclyde Business School, Professor David Hillier, said: “This is our second pioneering project with Together Energy, the first was the launch of the access course and developing graduates from within Together Energy through the Graduate Levy Apprenticeship. As well as being important members of the Together team, I hope our students can inspire the next wave of Strathclyders from within Together.”