Bombardier Belfast has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. A percentage of pre-tax profits is allocated to our charitable foundation each year to help fund Northern Ireland-based initiatives, mainly in the areas of environment, education and entrepreneurship. The Bombardier (NI) Foundation also supports employees who fundraise and volunteer in their local communities.
Bombardier has an environmentally-focused approach to product design and manufacturing processes. Our Belfast operation is a signatory to the UK Sustainable Aviation strategy and a partner in research projects which address the ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) goals – reducing environmental impact through operations and design.
Comprehensive energy conservation and carbon reduction programmes have made significant improvements to the environmental footprint of our Belfast sites. We are currently exploring ways to secure more competitive and sustainable energy sources through energy from waste, solar and biogas projects. Our 600,000 sq. ft. wing manufacturing and assembly facility is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified to Gold standard by the US Green Building Council. The LEED rating system is the foremost international programme for buildings designed, constructed, and operated for improved environmental and health performance.
Bombardier Belfast has a Platinum rating from the ARENA network environmental survey run by Business in the Community, Northern Ireland. The company is also ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 accredited.
A member of SC21 (ADS 21st Century Supply Chains), we participate in aerospace-industry initiatives and events aimed at improving and sustaining the competitiveness of our local suppliers.
The Flight Experience, Bombardier’s award-winning educational programme, works closely with primary and post-primary schools across Northern Ireland on aerospace-themed projects supporting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculum. Bombardier Belfast was one of the first companies in Northern Ireland to sign up to the government’s STEMNET initiative, aimed at inspiring young people about STEM. Since November 2011, the company has worked closely with the interactive science and discovery centre W5, which is coordinating STEMNET in Northern Ireland. Over 100 STEM Ambassadors – from apprentices to senior management – promote STEM in schools.
The company also supports the WISE campaign, which encourages schoolgirls to pursue STEM subjects. A WISE programme developed by Bombardier in partnership with two local colleges, offers girls an insight to the aerospace sector as part of their studies in Design and Technology.
Bombardier played a key role in the formation of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Employers’ Forum in 2003, following its involvement with task forces set up locally by government to address disadvantage. In ten years, the forum helped almost 1800 unemployed find jobs. It was extended in 2013 to the Citywide Employers’ Forum with further support from government and input from Belfast City Council. Bombardier continues to chair the forum which, since 2013, has supported around 300 individuals with gaining employment.
Bombardier’s Corporate Social Responsibility in the UK
Bombardier works closely with schools and colleges that are local to its sites engaging in educational initiatives to help to underpin the future of technology and innovation in its local communities. We are also sponsors of the London Transport Museum and supporters of a number of awards that promote excellence in technology and the evolution of mobility. We focus on schemes which support the 3 E’s - Education, Environment and Entrepreneurship.
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – iRail initiative
Bombardier recognises the importance of encouraging younger generations to take an interest in technology. We are active supporters of iRail, a programme to inform and engage young people about the range of career opportunities in the railway industry. Since 2010 it has attracted hundreds of school students from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Now part of the Big Bang initiative, iRail is a highlight of the rail industry calendar, forming part of National Science and Engineering Week which takes place at the Roundhouse in Derby.
Central to the day is the involvement of teams from local schools who participate in a visit to Bombardier’s Derby site to view the design, assembly and testing of trains. They also undertake engineering challenges to be judged by a panel of industry experts.
Rail Week is a dedicated week of activity delivered by the rail sector and led by Young Rail Professionals (YRP) to address the skills shortage in rail-related roles and inspire a generation of young people through a series of events, visits and talks. In Bombardier we try to open the doors of our industry, providing insight to students at schools, colleges and universities. This is planned and supported by a team of graduates and apprentices at our Derby site. Bombardier has been involved since the very first Rail Week in 2016. In 2019 we held an open evening with small group talks and tours of the production lines. We also held a Bring your child to work day for employees across the Derby site. Both initiatives proved very popular with visitors and staff alike, and will hopefully encourage young people into the world of rail.
Bombardier and teachers from Little Ilford school worked together to devise an activity where students could gain a better understanding of the usefulness of Maths, through its application in a real world environment. Working jointly together, a team of managers and teachers split a class of 15 year olds into groups, and gave them the challenge of competing against each other in bidding for a paint contract for a fleet of Electric Multiple Units. The exercise started with the development of the materials by Bombardier and a briefing by the teachers to the students.
Once the students understood the task, they visited Bombardier’s Heavy Maintenance depot at Ilford and using measuring tools and trigonometry skills they took measurements and angles from an Electrical Multiple Unit vehicle on-site. The multiple stripes of the livery complicated the exercise, and was designed to test the students trigonometric skills in calculated surface areas for non-standard shapes.
The students gathered all of their data and prepared their bids over a two week period. This phase of the project tested their organisational abilities to divide tasks up amongst a group and assign responsibilities. In the brief, it was made clear that we were not just looking for a price, but looking for the teams to minimise vehicle downtime, minimise costs and reduce risks to the project. All of these factors would play a part in the final scoring process.
After two weeks, the students returned to Ilford and presented their bids to Bombardier's managers. Every team had to defend their calculations and convince Bombardier's team that their bid was not only competitive but also credible. In order to prove this, they presented rosters, labour calculations, material calculations and risk assessments. This part of the exercise challenged the students’ presentational skills in a professional working environment, giving them valuable experience and putting into practice their creativity and verbal skills.
Based on their offered price, bid credibility and quality of presentation, Bombardier's managers chose a winner and gave them a prize. All groups received constructive feedback on their performance.
Bombardier is actively involved in the UK’s Women in Rail initiative.
Women in Rail was created in April 2012 to provide networking opportunities and support for all women in the rail industry, promote rail as an attractive career choice and develop strategies for engaging young people to consider a career in the sector.
The aims of Women in Rail are to improve diversity in the UK rail sector through:
Establishing a robust networking platform: by bringing together women from across the UK rail industry and providing them with a forum to connect, meet like-minded women, share experiences and exchange ideas on issues relating to the rail sector;
Providing a strong support network: by implementing a mentoring programme which provides a unique opportunity for women and young graduates in the rail industry to receive support and guidance from senior industry professionals and receive help with their careers and through regular workshops and seminars, helping women within the sector tackle the issues which they have identified as barriers preventing them from pushing themselves forward and realising their full career potential; and
Campaigning for the rail industry: by devising initiatives aimed at positioning rail as an attractive career choice for young women and raising awareness to the benefits a career in rail can offer through presentations at schools, colleges and universities and discussing apprenticeships with key stakeholders.
Membership of Women in Rail currently includes board members, senior managers, engineers, professional services and administrators from a wide range of undertakings and stakeholders across the UK rail industry representing rolling stock companies, train operators, government agencies, regulatory authorities, manufacturers and suppliers.
The Steering Committee of Women in Rail comprises representatives from Angel Trains, Bombardier Transportation UK, Clifford Chance, East Midlands Trains, Wabtec, Network Rail, Northern Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation.
Achievements so far
Women in Rail has established strong links with like-minded groups such as the SmallPeice Trust, Young Railway Professionals, Women in Transportation, National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering, Women In Science and Engineering and Rail Safety and Standard Board.
Women in Rail has engaged with the Unions (TUC and ASLEF) to discuss some of the key issues facing working mothers within the rail sector.
Women in Rail is sitting on the Diversity Leadership Group set up under the umbrella of the BIS-funded Diversity Programme run by The Royal Academy of Engineering which purpose is to find ways to increase the diversity of the engineering workforce in the UK.
The work undertaken by Women in Rail has received extensive coverage in the trade press with articles published in Rail Professional, Rail Strategies, RailStaff and industry internal newsletter (Young Railway Professionals, ASLEF and RailFreight to name but a few) and resulted in the creation of three new awards at the annual Rail Business Awards, namely “Rail Engineer of the future”, “The Diversity and Inclusion Award” and “Women in Rail Award”.
Women in Rail is strengthening its support role through regular networking events, workshops, its mentoring scheme and an active campaign with senior professionals, government officials and MPs to raise awareness to the need to attract, support and retain female talent in the rail sector. Women in Rail is also expanding its influence through other industry wide initiatives that include the production of a video promoting the many benefits of a career in rail and an industry campaign to showcase through interviews and articles the many incredible and passionate women working within the UK rail sector.