Expleo launches Big Build initiative to help solve Northern Ireland's community needs

  • Photo: Expleo has launched a Big Build initiative to help with local community needs in Northern Ireland

    Expleo, a global engineering, technology and consulting service provider, has announced the launch of Expleo’s Big Build and the completion of its first project under the new initiative.

    Addressing specific community needs through hands-on collaboration, Expleo’s Big Build represents a significant investment from Expleo in Northern Ireland and its communities. The company aims to host at least two Big Build projects in Northern Ireland each year.

    Marking the initiative’s first project, the Big Build team constructed a sensory play area and memorial garden at Roddensvale School, a special needs school in Larne, Co. Antrim, supporting children and young adults with severe learning difficulties. The new facilities provide a safe, inviting space for students, especially those with autism, to play and explore.

    The memorial garden, meanwhile, provides a tranquil area where pupils, families and staff members can go to remember deceased loved ones who attended the school.

    READ MORE: Rob McConnell, Head of Expleo NI, on staff engagement and 'finding the right balance'

    Expleo assembled a team of 30 people to carry out the labour-intensive work in less than 24 hours: starting at 8am and finishing at 6pm on 28 June. The project was managed by Splash Projects, a company helping businesses to make a meaningful impact in their communities, who ensured that the designs were safe, practical, and aligned with the needs of the school.

    Pictured: The new play area at Roddensvale School, Larne, Co. Antrim, following Expleo's Big Build

    Along with Expleo staff members, the Big Build team also included students from two of the biggest boys’ schools in Belfast – St Malachy’s College and Belfast Boys’ Model School.

    This cross-community approach will be an ongoing theme for Expleo’s Big Build as it looks to encourage partnerships between young people from different backgrounds to give them a sense of achievement as a team. Additionally, it will give the participating children exposure to the world of work and the concept of problem-solving as a driver of change.

    The initiative will also support Expleo’s focus on staff engagement and collaboration. Every project will involve tasks that team members would not typically encounter in their daily roles, resulting in an opportunity for team-building and discovering new ways of working together, as well as overall benefits to wellbeing and sense of purpose.

    READ MORE: One-in-five businesses in Ireland creating new jobs to handle AI

    Rob McConnell, Head of Expleo Northern Ireland, said: “At Expleo, we are incredibly proud to be a part of the business community in Northern Ireland and we are committed to growing our impact and social value on the wider community here, too. We believe that true leadership means setting an example of collaboration and inclusivity; involving different groups in a shared purpose than can leave a lasting impression on people’s lives and outlooks.

    “This initiative also brings our teams outside of their comfort zones and challenges them to come up with tangible solutions for people who have very different needs from those of our traditional customer base. As a business that thrives on innovation, this can be transformative for our team members as it shows them the real-life value of design thinking.”

    Pictured: The play area and memorial wall at Roddensvale School, Larne, Co. Antrim, following Expleo's Big Build

    John Madden, Principal of Roddensvale School, said: “The new play area and memorial garden have transformed our outdoor space. Seeing the joy that our students are getting from this safe, fun and engaging environment has been wonderful and it has been made all the more special in the knowledge that it was a true community collaboration in bringing it to life. We are incredibly grateful to Expleo and Splash Projects for their dedication and hard work on behalf of our very special Roddensvale family.”

    Simon Poole, Managing Director, Splash Projects, said: “Our values are one and the same as Expleo’s: bringing about positive, sustainable change – and this project will bring these values to life. We were delighted to partner with them on this challenge and look forward to continuing our partnership for many more projects to come.”

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