Rotary Club Presents Web Applications UK With Community Shield Award

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

So it goes

On Monday, June 14, Web Applications UK won the Community Service Shield, presented by The Rotary Club of Oldham. Rotary clubs foster community involvement at home and overseas. Rotary members are men and women from all backgrounds who have an interest in helping others. Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) has over 55,000 members in 1,840 clubs. RIBI is an integral part of Rotary International, the world’s first service organisation. The Community Service Award was originally a ‘one off’ initiative that was created to celebrate the millennium but has flourished into an annual award. The Shield is given to local companies who demonstrate strong ties to and active participation in the local community. Previous winners include companies like Warburton’s and the Oldham Evening Chronicle; this year it’s Web Applications UK’s time to shine.

President of Rotary Club Alan Whitehead with Craig and ShaunWeb Applications UK demonstrates its commitment to the local community in a number of ways. Our rich mentor scheme, numerous work experience students and apprenticeships are catered to making the work place an exciting and inviting place for young people, encouraging them to think about their career choices and find the right path to reach their goals. Web Applications UK is involved in a variety of community events, from hosting networking events to sponsoring local business awards. We invest our time, money and experience to make Oldham a wonderful place to live and a great place to work.

Web Applications currently has twelve of its more than forty employees, fully CRB checked (Criminal Records Bureau) who act as mentors to young people, five who have mentees at this time and four who have mentees in Oldham, aged 16 through 19. Our mentor scheme is conducted through the Careers Academy UK and lasts for eighteen months. Mentors have their students from February and continue to connect with them until the students finish their college course. This is the first year that this program has been available for the IT industry and we became involved with it as soon as we could. Our employees offer guidance and support for their mentees. Our mentors meet with their young people once or twice a month, discuss how they’re doing and participate in an activity together; it can be as relaxed as coffee or as active as a game of football.

In the past few months we have had eight work experience students come into our office. They are given a project and a couple of small tasks to complete. The purpose is to give these students a chance to see what it is like working in an office environment and experience the real world. The students spend a full week in our office before returning to school. This program has been so successful that we occasionally have students return for a second week.

Web Applications UK on the ShieldAt the moment Web Applications UK has two Microsoft Apprentices. These students split their time between working at our office and receiving training towards industry qualifications provided by QA Apprenticeships. These apprentices gain valuable IT experience whilst working with us in addition to the opportunity to spend time working in a real business. We try to vary the work for the apprentices as much as possible to give them exposure to a number of different aspects of our business as they will spend a full year working with us.

In addition to hosting students in our office, many Web Applications UK staff have travelled outside the office to visit schools, training students on interview skills through Positive Steps. Positive Steps is an independent service based in Oldham that offers a series of services, one of which is Connexions Oldham which pairs Web Applications staff members with schools that might benefit from our tutorship. Another service provided by Positive Steps is the Job Club, which staff members attend monthly, to teach interview technique and life skills, to some of our most disadvantaged young people. In the past year members of our staff have visited various schools at least ten times, all within the Oldham area. Schools we have visited include St. Augustine, North Chadderton, South Chadderton, Grange School and Blue Coat School (to name a few). Web Applications feels that students who are properly prepared for interviews will exhibit more confidence when it is most needed later in life.

The Community Service ShieldOn November 19, 2009 Web Applications hosted a Webinar titled‘Beat the Recession’ in association with many local entities including: Oldham Council, Oldham Evening Chronicle, and Business Link. The seminar was aimed at highlighting issues facing local business and answering crucial questions that can sometimes fall through the cracks. The seminar was free and was very successful, and is still available online on the Web Applications UK Website (it can be found here).

Web Applications UK sponsors a number of local organisations and events which range from sporting clubs to business awards. We sponsor Inter Web F. C. which operates within the Buxton Taverner’s League, and we are a founding sponsor of The One Oldham Business Awards, supporting it for the last two years. Web Applications UK has also participated in many local gatherings, including sponsoring the Mayor’s Emerald Charity Ball which took place on March 12, 2010 and attending the Pride of Oldham Awards Luncheon. Web Applications has had meetings with local Council leaders and recently we spoke to our MP, Phil Woolas about problems facing local businesses. We are also the lead sponsor of the Oldham Works Campaign.

The Oldham Works Campaign was launched by The Oldham Chronicle last year to highlight local success stories, sparks of light on a town suffering from the recession. Web Applications believes that great things are happening in Oldham and that they should be singled out and given a place to shine. Web Applications UK understands that our company is organically linked to our local community and we support and are involved in that community from its smallest members to its most powerful ones. We continually invest in the young people of this community, giving them our time, experience and guidance, as well as sponsor larger organisations and services with any funds we can spare. Our commitment to Oldham is strong and is based in the foundations of Web Applications UK.

The Rotary Club of Oldham presented the Community Service Shield to Web Applications on Monday June 14, 2010. Craig Dean and Shaun Austin represented Web Applications and attended a luncheon to celebrate. The award was presented by Rotary Club of Oldham President Alan Whitehead and the luncheon included around 20 Rotary club members. The Shield is now hanging proudly in our foyer and we feel extremely honoured to have been granted this prestigious award.