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Delivering Social Value – Focus On Education Engagement

April 30, 2024
Chelmer Valley High School Visit 1 June 15th 2023

Social value has many facets. What unites all social value initiatives is the importance of doing them well. In other words: ‘We didn’t just tick the box – we made a real difference.’ Making a difference is where the value lies, for the communities we work in, and for our team members who take part.

Since April 2023, Octavius has achieved some amazing social value accomplishments. These include:

Local Value:

  • £61.2m achieved from spend with businesses local to projects.
  • £17.9m achieved from spend with SME enterprises.


  • 178 people hours spent protecting and improving the environment.
  • 113.62 MTCDE reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases

Community and Wellbeing:

  • £113k achieved from community donations.
  • 2078 people hours spent supporting community initiatives local to a project.

Employment, skills and education:

  • 4541 people hours of learning interventions delivered.
  • 640 work placement and apprenticeship weeks completed.
  • 405 people hours supporting education providers.

It is this last set of statistics, where we would first like to focus our attention. Over the coming months, we’re going to explore what ‘doing social value well’ means in practice for our business, starting with engagement with education.

This, in itself, is a huge topic and covers everything from meaningful work placements for older students to fun technology-based activities in primary schools.

Raising Aspirations

Education engagement has a huge potential for raising aspirations, particularly for young people with little exposure to the construction industry and those who wouldn’t normally consider it as a career path. 

While our job is engineering, not social engineering, encouraging young people to think broadly about different education and training opportunities plays an important role in encouraging social mobility and improving diversity within our industry.

Meaningful Engagement

Having engaged with countless school and college activities over many years, here’s our formula for getting the most out of these programmes.

Make it active. Young people want inspiring things to do. There are plenty of ways to incorporate brief careers presentations into the programme, but the first priority is always engagement. Inspire curiosity and the rest follows.

Make it real. We always aim to reflect real work in our programmes and use volunteers who can bring practical experiences to the activity.

Choose volunteers carefully. It helps to use people who really want to do it and have an interest in education. Fortunately, we have plenty of these throughout our organisation.

Support volunteers. It can be daunting working with a group of students when you’re not used to it. So, volunteers need coaching and guidance. That way they can guide students effectively without solving all the problems for them.

Choose the right partner. Octavius has a long-standing association with the STEM Ambassadors programme.  They have a proven range of highly engaging and practical activities as well as a supportive community for volunteers.

Aiding Education

Octavius is committed to actively supporting education projects nationally, notably recent programs within the South East’s Eastern Highways Alliance (EHA)

Octavius provided monthly mock interview support for Step2skills and in collaboration with our customer, Hertfordshire County Council, delivered CV advice and support at careers fairs in schools and colleges across the region.

  • Working with partners, Business2Business, Octavius attended the launch of the Future Skills Employability programme at HMP The Mount, in Hertfordshire and have also been supporting HMP Norwich and HMP Bedford.  This is part of the Government funded Future Skills Programme, where Octavius have committed to supporting job fairs and supporting ex-offenders with interviews for potential employment throughout 2024 and 2025.  
  • Octavius hosted site visits in Chelmsford, with Chelmer Valley High School and secured placements on-site for two students from the Bedford college. 
  • The Senior Framework Manager of the EHA has been mentoring a member of staff at the Sunnyside Rural Trust and exploring options to upgrade onsite parking and maintenance.

Throughout our history, social value and giving back to communities has always been a priority. But good intentions are never enough. You also need structure, planning and a way to measure effectiveness.

If you’d like to know more about our social value programme, contact: hello@octavius.co.uk

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