Octink are a small business that has continued to demonstrate their commitment to strategic community investment. The company has developed a number of long-standing partnerships and leveraged support from clients and suppliers, whilst providing time and expertise to support its local community. This approach has enabled Octink to deal with a skills gap in its workforce.
- Employed four apprentices since 2009 through Spark! – Hounslow’s Education Business Partnership.
- Supported Cultivate London to develop a brand and marketing strategy.
- Supported 40 design students in undertaking a business project for the London Olympics, and leveraged £15,000 of investment from a business partner.
- Supported client relationships generating over £250,000 of work for Octink.
- Recruited two new members of staff through the apprenticeship programme, saving over £5,000 on recruitment costs.
- Awarded the Angela Innes Cup by Spark! for the community partner who has gone the extra mile.
Octink has continued to identify and focus on the core strategic issue of youth unemployment in Hounslow, where the company is located. It has developed its business model to ensure that community investment sits at the heart of its approach to recruitment, and receives significant support from across the entire organisation, led by the company’s managing director. Support to community partners is focused on donating time and skills to ensure alignment with the company’s wider business, and increase the difference the company can make.
A key aspect of the company’s approach is working in partnership, both with community organisations and clients. In 2012, the company developed a fantastic collaboration with sports brand New Balance to support design students from the University of Kingston, growing out of a commercial contract Octink had secured. 40 students were engaged to design bespoke pieces of furniture for New Balance’s Olympic hospitality venue, providing opportunities to undertake work in industry and providing exposure to commercial manufacturing processes. Octink were able to leverage £15,000 for this project, whilst securing longer-term contracts with New Balance.
Octink has also developed a holistic approach to inspiring young people into careers in brand and design. The company recognises that there is a skills gap in the future workforce around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and offers a range of industry days, work experience placements and apprenticeships to young people, in partnership with Spark! and other local schools. This enables the company to promote understanding of careers in design and prepare young people for the world of work, whilst positioning the company as an employer of choice locally.
In 2011/12, the company engaged over 35 students through industry days, offering insights into the business alongside support in preparing CVs. Students are invited to use this process to submit an application for work experience, with three work experience opportunities and one on-going placement being offered across 2011/12, focussed on real life projects across the business. In addition, the company also offers apprenticeships as the next stage in this process, employing four apprentices since 2009. Two apprentices have remained with the business, progressing on to more senior roles and saving the company over £5,000 in recruitment costs.
This integrated approach to community investment, which is delivering long-term, tangible results for the community and business, are the reason that Octink continue to be recognised as a CommunityMark company.