Graham Frankland, Corporate Responsibility and Citizenship Manager, National Grid

“We’ve been a big supporter of City Year UK since they first came to London. We’re now working with City Year in Birmingham and Greater Manchester too, which has really helped us with our community engagement.

“Our initial involvement began with a major engineering infrastructure project we had in east London. We were putting electricity cables through tunnels to power the capital into the future. We teamed up with City Year as we wanted to work with a school that was on the route of that work. As a result, we’ve worked closely with Whitmore School in Hackney alongside City Year’s volunteers, and it is great to see the school going from strength to strength.

City Year’s young people also helped with our School Power project – going into schools along the project’s route to talk about what a great industry energy is. We reached tens of thousands of schoolchildren in London through that, which was fantastic.

“We’ve also encouraged our employees to mentor City Year volunteers. That began in London but it’s grown astonishingly. Now our employees are helping City Year’s young people in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester. Last year more than 70 of our employees came forward to say they’d like to mentor a City Year volunteer. Three years ago it was just seven.

“As an engineering company we’re passionate about education, and developing Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills in particular. Our partnership with City Year helps us and them – and the local communities in which we operate. You can really see tangible benefits, progress and improvements for school and their pupils when they’re associated with City Year. And the same goes for the volunteers we mentor. You can see them grow as individuals and people. They may have come out of education not knowing what they wanted to do. This is a great way of developing skills and experience for them that they can take forward into future employment.  Our employees who are involved with City Year also get a lot out of it. They learn new skills and also become connected to the communities in which they work.

“It is a great partnership.”