We support organisations that are aligned with our business and values, and direct our activities through three main global criteria: Our Customer; Education and the future workforce; and, Community. We contribute in the form of financial donations or sponsorship, in-kind support, employee payroll giving, volunteering and fundraising. Globally we contributed more than £11m during 2018 to local, national and international charities and not-for-profit organisations, continuing our strong track record in the area.
This community investment helps to make a real difference across all of our markets.
We strive to maximise the impact of our community investment and we work closely with the London Benchmarking Group to assess, measure and improve the effectiveness of our programmes.
Supporting the armed forces
In the UK, BAE Systems was one of the first large organisations to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, a voluntary pledge to support the Armed Forces community . Our commitment recognises the valuable skills and experience that service leavers and veterans bring to our business, and highlights the Company as an Armed Forces friendly organisation. We publically stand by 11 key commitments made in the Covenant, supporting service leavers, veterans, spouses and reservists, whilst encouraging our employees to demonstrate their support through fundraising and volunteering opportunities.We also contribute to organisations such as Defence and National rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) supporting them to create a 21st century replacement for the current rehabilitation centre for wounded service personnel in Surrey. In the US, we have partnered with The Mission Continues to help veterans acquire new skills and build networks by supporting projects in their local communities. Contributing £4.3m to Armed Forces initiatives in 2017 enabled us to support serving and veteran personnnel as well as their families.
Investing in education
We see it as our responsibility to encourage and inspire young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We support STEM education and skills development in schools across many of our markets including Australia, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UK, US and the Middle East, and contributed £3.5m in 2017. Our education programmes are designed to challenge stereotypes and excite young people about careers in science and engineering. We host a variety of events in partnership with schools throughout the year including engineering challenges that get students excited about STEM related careers and help students develop team-building and engineering skills. These activities also provide the opportunity for our employees to continue their own development through mentoring, visiting schools and discussing their experiences with students.
Volunteering and fundraising
We encourage our employees to contribute their time, knowledge and skills to make a difference in their community through activities with local schools and charities. Our apprentices often choose to act as mentors and ambassadors for young people. During 2017, our employees volunteered some 15,000 hours in work time, contributing to various company endorsed projects and activities.
We also promote employee fundraising through, for example, our matched funding programmes in the UK and the US, both of which match employee contributions within specific capped levels via payroll giving (UK) and employee contributions (US).