At Tate & Lyle, our commitment to community involvement is fundamental to who we are and supporting education is a key part of how we live our purpose. For International Education Day 2024, we caught up with our colleagues in Latin America to learn more about how they have volunteered with one of our community partners, Junior Achievement, to support education in their local communities.
Meet our colleagues Isabela Trad (Brazil), Camila Medeiros (Brazil) and Aline Sanches (Chile), some of our community programme champions in Latin America . They have been instrumental in establishing our partnerships with local Junior Achievement chapters, which are part of one of the world’s largest, youth-serving nonprofits that helps support young people and communities through entrepreneurial education, financial education, and job readiness experiences.
Here is what Isabela, Camila and Aline had to say about their experiences to inspire others to volunteer in ways that support education and make a positive impact in the communities where they work and live.
Q: What do you and your colleagues do when you volunteer with Junior Achievement?
Aline: Tate & Lyle Chile started volunteer work with Junior Achievement in 2023. The Junior Achievement team presented us with their options for us to volunteer in ways that support education and we chose to do a "Partner for a Day" event. For this volunteering activity, students visited our site to get to know the corporate office setting and could explore our technical laboratory ― while being able to interact with our colleagues.
Our team takes a collaborative approach, so the “doing” can be a bit different for each of us. From giving presentations to being a tour guide or helping plan the logistics of the day, we believe that learning goes beyond the classroom, it is present in everyday life and takes place through social experiences. An added benefit is that Junior Achievement takes a similar approach to partnerships in chapters around the world, which means some of our colleagues in other locations have had or could have opportunities to volunteer just like us.
Q: How did you decide to partner with Junior Achievement and volunteer your time to support education?
Camila: In Brazil, there are significant social and economic inequalities that impact the quality of education, as well as insufficient infrastructure – such as lack of schools and public transportation – which is a barrier to accessing education for any student. To overcome these challenges, partnerships between corporations and non-profit organisations, like Junior Achievement, in local communities play a critical role in making meaningful change. Tate & Lyle’s Community Programme offers employees the opportunity to partner with NGOs and I’m grateful we’ve been able to leverage this benefit to establish our partnership with Junior Achievement.
As an individual, supporting education is a cause I deeply care about and volunteering with Junior Achievement is aligned with my personal values. I believe in the transformative power of education, equal opportunities and one of my personal goals is always to make a positive contribution to the world. Of course, every volunteer activity gives me a huge sense of fulfilment and broadens my perspective, but I also gain a deeper understanding of social issues in my local community. This is extremely important for people like me who live in developing countries but still have several privileges.
Q: What have you enjoyed and/or found challenging about volunteering with Junior Achievement to support education?
Isabela: What I most like is the interaction with different students. Listening to their dreams and careers goals brings me hope and energy to give my best during every single minute that I’m dedicating to Junior Achievement activities! It’s amazing to see how you can inspire someone by sharing your own experiences and giving support to them in the form of encouragement. It’s crazy and often sad to see that some kids simply don’t have access to the basics for education and challenging to feel confident that you can help them even if you are not an official teacher. Regardless, it gives me “butterflies” thinking about the many amazing experiences I’ve had during the programmes even when facing these challenges.
Q: How have company-encouraged volunteering activities and/or programmes to support education shaped your career?
Isabela: Living in a country where almost half of our huge population of people over 25 years don’t even finish high school1, and working for a company that has supporting education as one of the main focus areas for its community programme, inspires me to get involved . A knowledge-sharing culture helps teams and organisations make progress in the workplace and breaks down barriers to challenges in local communities. Getting involved, gaining experience and learning from others through these activities and programmes has opened some doors for career advancement opportunities in my case.
Q: What part of volunteering with Junior Achievement are you most proud of?
Camila: There's nothing better than making a positive impact in the life of those who need it most.. During our last volunteering event, I had the opportunity to share more in-depth information about the work I do at Tate & Lyle. It was exciting to see those students paying attention to my speech, asking interesting questions and, in the end, hearing that the experience with me was one that they liked best. I am most proud of the fact that afterward many expressed the intention of studying and working in this profession in the future . When I shared my story with those students, the gratitude I received back is what makes me sure that I want to continue taking part in these activities and know I’ll have many more proud moments.
Q: How does supporting education with Junior Achievement connect to Tate & Lyle’s purpose of Transforming Lives through the Science of Food?
Camila: Tate & Lyle’s commitment to supporting education helps build thriving communities, which is one of the ways we live our purpose. The partnership with Junior Achievement helps to empower students by supporting education in ways that give them the tools they need to improve their circumstances and plan for their futures, which means these students will have more opportunities to contribute in their local communities. In a broader sense, the partnership also demonstrates the way we’re making a lasting, positive impact on society.
Aline: We’ve been able to see this student empowerment come to life during our volunteer activities. In a recent event, the students who participated are attending high school with an emphasis on chemistry, but many of them did not know what they wanted to study at university. Our volunteer team in Chile set a goal to inspire these students regarding their future career choices. Each volunteer from Tate & Lyle had the opportunity to introduce themselves, their current role, what their academic background was and why it led them to that choice. At the end of the day, many students stated that they now know what they want to study and do professionally in the future because of the inspiration from our conversations. It was amazing to see the impact our four hours of volunteering had on the group of students that day.
Q: What is one moment from your volunteering activities with Junior Achievement that made you think “I’m really making a positive impact”?
Isabela: When I saw one young teenager, that after attending our programme about careers and the job market, built her own LinkedIn profile and started creating connections. She positioned herself well and showcased her skills until she got an intern position. I watched her make these steps in the digital space. The feeling that I have from being able to see how the knowledge I’ve shared during one of these volunteer activities has impacted her life, is one of the best experiences I’ve had through Junior Achievement. It’s the kind of ‘ah-ha’ moment I hope to have many times over!
About Tate & Lyle’s partnership with Junior Achievement
The partnership between Tate & Lyle and Junior Achievement Brazil was established in 2019. Our colleagues have had many exceptional experiences through volunteering activities with this Junior Achievement chapter, which has sparked our teams in other regions to connect with their local Junior Achievement chapters as wchamell. Today, Tate & Lyle has partnerships with Junior Achievement chapters in Brazil, Chile, and Singapore. The activities conducted through these partnerships contribute to Tate & Lyle’s ESG target for supporting education, which is to have supported the education of over 100,000 children and students through learning programmes and grants, helping them attain skills for life by 2025.
1. IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. “In Brazil, 53.2% of persons aged 25 and over have completed compulsory basic education; That is, they had at least completed high school in 2022.”
Our commitment to community involvement
We’re passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work and want everyone to have the opportunity to achieve their potential.