Apart from its devastating economic effects, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the lives of many people, including members of our SMEC family, their relatives and friends. We are proud of and grateful for the resilience, fortitude and drive of our workforce who came together around a singular focus: protecting the safety and health of our people, maintaining operational resilience and exceeding our commitments to our clients and partners.
With SMEC operating around the world in over 35 countries, many of our people were no strangers to collaborating in remote, albeit globally connected teams. Still, as lockdowns and other restrictions came into play during 2020, SMEC offices, teams and employees mobilized quickly to support our communities and stakeholders by taking steps to protect health and wellbeing. We supported our clients to deal, with any impacts on their projects and continued to deliver quality technical services. Internally, we increased morale and productivity through creative team building initiatives.
At our core, SMEC’s mission is simple: to build trusted partnerships to solve problems through design and engineering. It's this drive that has guided our teams during these unprecedented times and helped us to balance action with purpose as we look to redefine excellence.Continued focus on supporting gender equality
Supporting female participation and retention in engineering continues to be a priority not only for SMEC but also the industry at large.
In 2020, SMEC Australia was proudly recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. This citation is a leading recognition program designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces. Our employees and business prioritised key improvements in flexible work practices, industry leading parental leave policies and learning and development programs.
We also partnered with Cultivate, a research-based sponsorship program in Australia, aimed at assisting female employees to progress into leadership positions. The program connects members of SMEC’s senior leadership team with emerging female leaders who benefit from mentoring, sponsorship and formalised support. We look forward to running this program again in 2021.
The Anganwadi Project in India, supported by the SMEC Foundation
It is safe to say that there has never been a more pressing need for community assistance and support for recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During 2020, we continued to make a positive difference to communities through the SMEC Foundation, our charity partners and employee volunteering through our regional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committees. Here are just a few examples around the world:
Africa In addition to progressing existing projects, the SMEC Foundation is partnering with Action on Poverty (AOP) to support a food security initiative in Ethiopia, working with smallholder farmers to grow potatoes for household consumption and cash crops. The SMEC South Africa CSR committee is also supporting two projects that provide healthcare and educational opportunities to vulnerable communities in the country.
Asia Despite the challenges of COVID-19 delaying some works, two key projects to improve infrastructure and educational facilities in Vietnam and India were completed. Our teams in the Philippines joined hands with the Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission, Inc. (LASAC), our NGO partner, to provide critical assistance to people who had been displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas. This included organising a donation drive and purchasing necessities for at least 3,600 families.
Australia We continued our key partnerships with Engineering Aid Australia, Habitat for Humanity, Hope2Day and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. We were also proud to donate to the Cathy Freeman Foundation, which aims to help Indigenous children and their families recognise the power of education in achieving their goals and dreams.Read more about the SMEC Foundation