26 February 2009

Students Work? yes really....

Want to give a student a shock of working in the real world?

The Social Science Workplace Experience Programme, is looking for Social Enterprises and Small and Medium Businesses that can offer 8 weeks over summer to undergraduate or postgraduate social science students to undertake specificd projects. Previous SSWEP projects have included:
  • Compilation of marketing strategies
  • Undertaking feasibility studies
  • Research and analysis
  • Business planning and evaluation
  • Database development
  • Website design
Undergraduate placements are completed during the summer, on a full-time basis (35 hours per week) for 8 weeks. Postgraduate placements can be completed during the summer on a full-time basis for 8 weeks, or part-time throughout the academic term for a total of 280 hours.

A training allowance is paid to students who take part in the scheme. The ESRC contributes funding to the scheme, reducing the overall cost to participating organisations.

For more information check out their website. Potential host organisations should submit an application as early as possible and ideally no later than May 1st 2009.

16 February 2009

The answer is a Co-operative

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind the answer is a Co-operative.

The Co-operative Group is starting a major advertising campaign, with the aim of explaining what makes The Co-operative different from other high street brands. They look to be clearly focusing on the co-operative angle, values and what this enables them to achieve. Supporting communities, climate change and fair trade in particular.

For the first time ever, the entire national ITV1 break in Coronation Street at 7.40pm this evening to showcase the 2½ minute commercial which is sound-tracked by Bob Dylan’s iconic ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’. The advert looks good, and I hope the rest of the campaign is equally compelling.

This is a perfect time to be promoting your worker co-operative and being proud to put your co-operative status on your website and publications. People are looking at a better way of doing business than the PLC and shareholder model, something that is more than profit and can be trusted.

If you are a co-operative; promote this. If you are a member use our "Members of Co-operatives UK" Logo. This will help validate your status as a co-operative and promote us and the movement as a whole.

If you have had recent achievement like:
  • Running for 10/20/30 years
  • Increased turnover, members or profit
  • Recent social impacts or other interesting stories.
Please tell us; we would like to promote your co-operative and take advantage of the renewed interest in the co-operative model.

05 February 2009

Co-operative Excellence Awards

Nominations are now open for the inaugural Co-operative Excellence awards. The Awards will be given out at Co-operatives 2009 in Windsor (June)

Awards in five categories will be made to individuals and co-operative enterprises to recognise excellence within the co-operative movement.

Innovation in Co-operative Business award
This award gives credit to an individual or enterprise for their creativity and drive for change – especially their innovative stance and approach to business.

Promotion of Co-operative Values and Principles award
This award identifies an individual or enterprise that has made a significant attempt to further understanding of the co-operative model through the promotion of co-operative values and principles.

Improvement in Commercial Performance award
This award is presented to an enterprise that has made a clear and sustained effort to improve its commercial performance.

Returning Value to Members award
This award highlights an enterprise that has shown considerable efforts to acknowledge the importance of its members.

Reporting Standards award
This award is given to an enterprise that best demonstrates its commitment to the Co-operativesUK guidelines for reporting commercial, co-operative and social performance, corporate governance and accounting standards.

Nominations close on 30 April 2009 and will then be reviewed by an independent judging panel. Winners will be notified of their success by the end of May. The awards will be presented on Saturday 27 June at Co-operatives 2009 in Old Windsor, Berkshire.

To find out more or to submit a nomination go to: www.cooperatives-uk.coop/Co-operativeExcellence

02 February 2009

What is the future for Co-operatives?

A brighter and more interesting one if Future Co-operatives 2009 is anything to go by. I attended this inspiring event with about 70 other people, mainly from Co-operative Development Bodies and Worker Co-operatives, an impressive number considering it was held in Swindon. This event looked at the future for co-operatives and discussed issue affecting the movement.

The Co-operative Group spoke about their marketing campaign and unveiled their plans to improve Co-operative development. It looks like they will be building on the C-Change fund (that covered the old united trading area) to other parts of the country. This should increase development support available to new and existing co-operatives. I will post more details when they are available.

The main debates over the weekend were: Co-operatives third sector or private sector, Co-operatives Act vs Co-operative Standards, and whether there should be a co-operative quality mark?

The main things I took from this event were:

Co-operatives maybe classified as first, third, social enterprise or any other number of terms, but first and foremost we are co-operatives. This is our unique selling points and makes us a better form of business.

In the present economic climate Co-operative values are an increasingly useful marketing tool and should be deployed more often. More than this we should promote what these values help us achieve.

We should convince other co-operatives to display their co-operative status and participate more in the movement. Together we are stronger.

For co-operatives wanting to have external verification of their co-operative status; something that can be done now is to display our "Members of Co-operatives UK" Logo on websites and publications. If you are not a member or want a high resolution logo, please contact me directly.

I am very grateful for all the feedback given by members at this event and will be passing these on internally.