GE Volunteers have been active in Europe for over 20 years and have well-established programs around GE sites focusing on areas of local need driven by the energy and passion of the GE employees. In 2011, over 10,500 employees in Western Europe took part in approximately 700 projects, donating 73,000 hours to the local communities where they live and work.
GE Europe has a strong relationship with Junior Achievement/Young Enterprise Europe, with several senior GE leaders serving on both the European and local boards. The GE Foundation supports JA/YE through funding at the local level and for the annual Innovations and Creativity Camp held in Brussels, where GE volunteers from Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. came together to take part.
Every week, GE Volunteers help children build core skills through reading together, mentoring or helping with homework. In Milan, Italy, volunteers have worked with underprivileged young people at the Martinitt Institute for over five years, giving young people a chance to improve their future opportunities.
Sites across Europe have developed their own programs to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in schools. GE Oil & Gas, GE Energy and GE Aviation all have projects based around young people exploring the technology that goes with each GE business. There is a strong focus on encouraging girls into engineering. At GE Aviation in the U.K., their award-winning Girls Get SET project has affected over 1000 girls in the last two years.
In Germany, GE Volunteers take young people from a local orphanage out to climb trees. In France and Switzerland they hold Sport Benefit workshops to help underprivileged children learn how to keep healthy. In the U.K. as part of GE’s Olympic and Paralympic sponsorship, volunteers work with schools to help make their lunch time break a happier and healthier time.
Construction and the Environment
Throughout Europe, GE Volunteers work on local environmental and construction projects, clearing woodlands, refurbishing community centers, making playgrounds more exciting and creating sensory gardens. In Scotland, volunteers have helped many schools create greenhouses from old plastic bottles. At the Matinitt Institute, volunteers help the children with homework, computer and English classes, and refurbishing the facilities.
In Norway, GE Volunteers work with the elderly and infirm at Eldredagen, an annual event 100% planned and executed by GE employees, involving outings and a party for the elderly. In Denmark, work focuses on Asylum seekers who have limited or no access to work while their cases are pending. The volunteers teach them new skills through learning and doing. Across Europe sites support the homeless by collecting items of warm clothing, toiletries and provisions for food banks.