Mars Chocolate UK - Mars Volunteer Programme

South East Local Impact Award 2013 - Employee Volunteering Company of the Year, Winner 2013

In 2012 over 50% of Mars UK Associates volunteered in Slough through the Mars Volunteer Programme.  Alongside this, Mars’ new skills-based volunteering programmes was launched to address key local needs, and support Associates’ skills development, attracting a 12% uptake, against a 10% target.

Business impacts

  • Mars has been able to promote itself as a responsible local business through direct stakeholder engagement, promoting them as a business of choice amongst the local community and potential future talent.
  • By giving local pupils the skills and knowledge to help them choose the subjects they need to come and work for the company, Mars is able to support its workforce of the future.
  • 98% of employees who volunteered saw it as a valuable use of business time, and 97% would recommend it to other colleagues.

Social impacts

  • Almost 400 pupils and young people have benefited from Mars’ skills-based volunteering scheme focusing on improving literacy, career and business development.
  • 15 students from two schools attended the Work Inspiration Week – a five-day programme of activities at Mars Chocolate to inspire local students and provide more information on employment opportunities in the food and drink sector.
  • 20 Mars Associates mentor pupils from Westgate and Wexham schools each month to give students one-on-one mentoring and business development advice.
  • 105 students from Beechwood school met Mars graduates – feedback included 97% of students saying that it helped plan their next steps.
  • 10 local charities were supported through the Charity Mentoring programme, which helped with HR, finance, strategy and marketing advice through monthly meetings.
  • 550 Mars Associates took part in traditional team volunteering opportunities throughout the year.

Mars UK logoThe Mars Volunteering Programme has been implemented by running the community programme at a local level, with support and feedback from partners including BITC and Learn to Work. Support also now includes a team of community champions appointed from within the business to help implement the programme, engage Associates, and promote development opportunities and business benefits of volunteering.

The Mars Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom are the foundation of their business culture and approach. They unite Mars across geographies, languages, cultures and generations.

Through community engagement, Mars aims to create health and prosperity in their communities, and the company has supported local communities in Slough for most of the 80 years it has been based there.  Volunteering has become culturally normal at Mars, with 50% of associates volunteering during the last three years, helped by a volunteering policy which allows Associates to volunteer during work hours.

Mars also wants to develop a pool of future talent in Slough by engaging and inspiring school pupils to want to come and work for the business. By developing local talent, Mars is supporting both the business and the local community.

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