A Social Enterprise
Speedpak Group is a social enterprise based in Coolock on Dublin’s Northside. The Speedpak Group improves the employability of long term unemployed people by providing real work experience, accredited training, mentoring, tailored interventions and supports in a commercial business environment. Speedpak was founded in 1995 by the Northside Partnership in collaboration with the local business community to address the issue of high unemployment in one of Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas. High unemployment stems from a myriad of complex and interrelated reasons including lack of experience and work history, inter-generational unemployment and underinvestment in local infrastructure.
Through the operation and growth of two commercial businesses, Speedpak and Shamrock Rosettes, work experience and training opportunities are provided to people. This structure delivers accredited training to address the low educational attainment of participants, 90% of whom have left school early. By comprising real work experience, accredited training, career planning, mentoring and tailored supports in a commercial business environment there is a real opportunity for the individual to obtain full time employment and reach their potential. Our corporate values are central to our success as a social enterprise. These are derived from our fundamental belief about what is good for people inside and outside our company. They are:
- Integrity – We strive to be fair and transparent and ensure that our products and services are of the highest quality.
- Honesty – We promote honesty, accountability and openness establishing relationships based on trust.
- Respect – We treat people with respect, dignity and sensitivity. We recognise and respect diversity and value the contribution of each individual.
- Community – We strive to help, support and improve the community where we work. Innovation We embrace new ideas and encourage the kind of thinking that produces better products, processes and services.
Our Commercial Businesses
Speedpak manufacturing support service specialises in providing customised contract packing and e-commerce fulfilment services. Under our Shamrock Rosettesk brand we manufacture a wide range of promotional products that include rosettes, sashes and badges. We are the largest manufacturer and distributor of these promotional products in the Republic of Ireland. We also supply embroidered sports clothing. Shamrock Rosettes operates an online shop and exports its products.
Work Experience and Training at Speedpak
Unemployment is a major social problem for the local community and has had a wider reach since the economic downturn. There is a direct correlation between low educational attainment and unemployment. As a consequence there is a huge need for retraining, up-skilling and obtaining educational qualifications to enable access to jobs particularly for those people most distanced from the labour market and who have low formal education. The Speedpak workplace, through its commercial activities, practices and procedures provides a curriculum that leads to an educational qualification equivalent to the Leaving Certificate. By blending work and learning, the Company provides an innovative local solution to the social challenge of unemployment. Speedpak offers work experience and training opportunities to long term unemployed people through Community Employment and Tús programmes. Participants are provided with a range of work skills training including light manufacturing, commercial packing, customer service, quality assurance, health and safety and use of plant and equipment. We also offer work experience in administration and reception. Training staff are supported by our core staff across Production, Sales, HR, Finance and Customer Service functions.
Validation of our Approach
Participant Educational Achievements
At Speedpak we have developed a Workplace Accreditation Model (WAM ©) from our extensive knowledge and experience in this area. This makes gaining an educational qualification at work a real possibility and has won numerous awards including Diageo’s Arthur Guinness Fund, Ulster Bank Business Achievers and AONTAS. From 2012 alone over 40 of our training staff obtained a Leaving Certificate equivalent Major QQI Award at Level 4 under the National Framework of Qualifications. This is very significant as 93% are early school leavers with 47% leaving school after primary education. All Training staff were previously long term unemployed and 33% are from specific target groups including people with disabilities and ex-offenders.
Independent Evaluation of our Workplace Accreditation Model [WAM]
Speedpak acknowledges the need for Social Enterprises to be able to demonstrate their social impact. As part of this, we commissioned Dr. Peter Tiernan of Dublin City University to carry out an independent review of our training approach to inform our future training offering. The key findings of the report show that our training programme was successful on a number of levels including:
- The programme provided Training Participants with additional knowledge and skills needed for further employment and training opportunities.
- Attitudes to education and overall performance at work improved as a result of taking part in the training programme.
- The focus on both work and learning had a positive impact on the organisation as a whole resulting in improved relationships and attitudes in work. Training participants felt more positive about their relationships with peers and management.
- Internal Communications were enhanced with more robust problem solving and improved collaboration and supports among staff within Speedpak.
- Training Participants felt more positive about their future prospects with increased confidence levels both in terms of progression to further education and further employment.
- Training participants indicated that they would now encourage their dependants to spend more time in education to attain higher educational qualifications. Download ‘Evaluating Speedpak’s Workplace Learning Programme’ [PDF 1MB]