Category: Performance

  • Walking the (sustainability) walk

    We founded Afallen in October 2018 on a set of values.

    We wanted Afallen to be the embodiment of our personal commitments to seeing Wales fulfill its potential as a sustainable country, demonstrating practical ways to improve the way we live, in a way which enriches every citizen and supports our ecosystems.

    One of the most important commitments we make is to keep more money, and people with talent, in Wales. Huge amounts of money – public and private – leaves Wales every day, along with many of our best and brightest in pursuit of job prospects elsewhere. In our own modest way, we aim to keep more of that money and opportunity in Wales; and not just in Wales, but to shovel it as furiously as possible out of Cardiff and into every corner of the country.

    Our commitment to the Future Generations approach is stated on the home page of the website

    We are building our network of partner organisations, sole traders and consultants; from Ynys Môn to Ynysybwl and everywhere in between, we believe that people work best where they are grounded and happy. We want people to be able to achieve great things in the places where they have made their lives. (By the way – if you’re a sole trader, or a small business, focused on delivering excellence in your field – please get in touch!)

    It’s also important to us to demonstrate that we not only say these things, we do them. That’s why we’re delighted to report that for the last year, nearly 97% of our spend was with people and organisations based in Wales. The remaining 3% was for some IT services and insurance.

    When you commission Afallen to work for you, you know that we will do our utmost to support local supply chains. We will endeavour to provide meaningful work for small businesses and individuals right across Wales. In so doing, we will help keep money flowing in the village shops, pubs and post offices which are so vital in maintaining community well-being and resilience.

    Indeed, many of the Well-being Goals could be read as no less than a requirement to focus on retaining money and talent in Wales through supporting local businesses.

    • A resilient Wales? By spreading our spend around small businesses we help build a plurality of choice for others which diversifies the tax base. We’re also able to influence others to become more climate-resilient in the way they carry out their work
    • A Wales of cohesive communities? With more money circulating in the small towns and villages, we have the opportunity to help safeguard essential civic resources.
    • A prosperous Wales? By keeping talent and money in Wales, we are helping to safeguard jobs, education and work opportunities for the young people of tomorrow.
    • A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language? Our commitment to providing all our services through the medium of Welsh (including this blog post!) guarantees that we are playing our part in enabling Welsh to become a natural language of business and community

    This report on our spend over the last twelve months is a pleasure to publish. Our promise is to continue striving towards the goal of 100%, and to help build a Wales that fulfils its promise to Future Generations.

  • Supporting girls & women in STEM

     

    Creating a more equal, prosperous Wales

    It’s no secret that the STEM sectors – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – are male-dominated. Two exceptions overall are probably the biological sciences and medicine, but even in these sectors, many of the top posts are occupied by men.

    I’ve been delighted to have been involved with the Welsh Government’s Women in STEM Board since May last year. The Board has strong representation at the Ministerial level, and is also populated by highly influential Champions of Women in STEM from across industry and education.

    I believe that it’s not just industry and education that face challenges with facilitating the pathway to fulfilling STEM hobbies and jobs, but the whole of society. That’s why I took on the role of Chair of a sub-group dealing with communications for Women in STEM.

    The two main outputs from the communications sub-group have been:

    The benefits of having a more equal STEM workforce are strongly overlapping with the values of Afallen. We believe that a STEM workforce which reflected gender in Wales would support both a more equal and a more prosperous Wales.

    A more balanced STEM workforce also supports three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely a Quality Education (Goal 4), Gender Equality (Goal 5) and Decent Work & Economic Growth (Goal 8).

    How can you get involved?

    The WiSTEM movement needs support from women and men in all walks of life. Here are some practical things that will help make the STEM sector, and society more widely, more accessible to women, thereby improving prosperity and equality for us all:

    1. Consider adding your support of Women in STEM to your social media profile. I have ‘Feminist’ in mine, which is a public reminder to myself of the behaviours and actions I expect to hold myself to
    2. If you’re happy to act as a STEM ambassador in a local school, or happy to speak to the media (print, radio or television) about why it’s important to improve the rates of participation by girls and women in STEM subjects, please sign up to the supporter list
    3. Sign up to be a mentor (or mentee!) at the Wales Women in STEM site
    4. Follow the twitter account 🙂

    If you have other practical suggestions on how to accelerate equality in STEM for girls, boys, women and men, please let us know in the comments below!

     

     

  • Our environmental commitment

    Practising what we preach

    We are clear in our commitment to delivering projects which support and enhance our natural environment, the system that underpins all our infrastructure, services and products. We’re now able to demonstrate that we’re keeping our own house in order, as we’ve been awarded the Level 2 Green Dragon award for environmental management.

    The Green Dragon Environmental Management System (EMS) is a light-touch version of 14001. The Green Dragon scheme is generally more appropriate for small organisations with relatively modest environmental impact. It requires that the organisation implements an environmental policy and that it submits to an audit against that policy, with a commitment to undertaking continual improvement.

    Our Partners are home-based, so our environmental impact is predominantly in the modes of travel we use for business. Where possible we use the transport hierarchy, prioritising Active Travel (walking and cycling), then public transport, then private transport. For further information on the hierarchy and on low carbon transport, we recommend looking at the 2018 Institute of Welsh Affairs publication “Decarbonising Transport in Wales“.

    https://toot.wales/interact/102462211554451847

    Why does this matter?

    One of the reasons we set up Afallen was to provide a platform within which talented individuals from across Wales could carry out high-level project activity, without having to accredit themselves with the many requirements for tender or project quality assurance that are often required.

    The attainment of Level 2 of the Green Dragon EMS now opens up the prospect of Afallen and our Associates being able to successfully bid for a wider range of project activity, and potentially for much larger projects.

    We’ll also seek out organisations which have demonstrated a similar commitment to the environment – and ideally to the other values which we hold dear – and try to find ways in which we can procure services or goods from them.

    We’d like to help cascade the good practice of EMS as widely as possible. Business activity is an incredibly important component of sustainability, and it’s only when the whole business community is doing its utmost that we will be able to attain genuine sustainability in Wales.

    If you like our values, and you’d like to work with superb consultants from across Wales on challenging and interesting projects, please get in touch. Our Associates have huge experience with technical areas ranging from renewable energy and technical research to GIS, and with ‘softer’ topics such as stakeholder engagement, communications and project assessment.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Wales’ talent is everywhere. We want the best of it

    A Wales of all the talents

    We believe that Wales’ best potential will only be attained if we can tap the abilities of all of our people. We also know that many people struggle to reach their own full potential, not because they lack the talent or the skills, but because their disabilities make entering the workplace more challenging than it should be.

    We want to work with the most talented people – wherever they are based, and whatever their physical circumstances – and are delighted to announce that we have been accepted to the ‘Disability Confident‘ scheme. It’s a UK Government scheme which aims to support employers in recruiting and retaining the best talent, including from the pools of people who have a disability or health condition.

    We intend to understand from disabled people’s user led organisations how we can make any work opportunities as accessible as possible to as wide a range of people as possible. We think that our method of working with people embedded in their local communities will assist with the accessibility of our work opportunities, because colleagues are able to work in the home or office conditions which suit them best.

    The spirit of Future Generations

    The Future Generations Well-being Goals and Ways of Working are both supported by good practice engendered in the Disability Confident scheme.

    Making it easier for people with health problems or disabilities into meaningful and valued work supports:

    • A ‘healthier Wales’ by enabling more people to enter the workplace, reducing stigma and mental health issues
    • A ‘more resilient Wales’ by helping to improve skills and retaining knowledge across the widest possible range of people
    • A ‘more equal Wales’ by ensuring that the fruits of gainful employment are shared more equally with currently disadvantaged groups
    • A ‘prosperous Wales’ by making the best possible talent available to us, and enabling us to provide an outstanding service to our clients

    The Future Generations Act also specifies the need to work differently, using the Five Ways of Working. With Afallen taking part in the Disability Confident scheme, we can more easily demonstrate:

    • Integration of our outputs with the needs of other service delivery partners in the public or private sector
    • Strengthening Wales’ long-term ability to provide meaningful employment for people with different abilities
    • The ability of people with disabilities or health conditions to more easily access work, mitigating future costs to the individual or public support services (prevention)
    • Collaboration with new partner organisations which could lead to better Well-being Outcomes for all parties
    • Involvement with people who reflect Wales’ diversity in full 

    It’s important to us that a Wales-based consultancy is able to offer an extremely high level of quality, from a cohort of specialists which reflect Wales’ diversity in all aspects. Working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences increases overall performance, and we think that our first steps into the Disability Confident scheme will help us achieve the excellence that is our aim.

    You can see all our accreditations in the footer of our webpage – with more to follow in the coming months! 

    If you have any thoughts on our approach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or drop us some comments below.