Together Energy has paid the living wage to its staff since it launched and became officially accredited by the Living Wage Foundation two months ago.
The independent energy supplier has over 40 members of staff and expects to grow to 60 in the next 12 months.
Paul Richards, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Together Energy, said: “Establishing the business in Clydebank means a lot to us and we are committed to growing the company here and creating more employment locally.
“We believe that in order to give the best customer experience we should invest in our people. Our staff are important to us, and it shows.
“We launched Together Energy two years ago when we spotted a gap in the market for an energy supplier that does things differently.
“We set the business up with specific commitments to customers: offering a transparent, easy-to-understand service; the simplest bill in the industry; and an aim to resolve all queries within eight hours.
“The staff, who have all been recruited from the Clydebank area, have been absolutely tremendous and have played a key part in helping us make so much progress.
“The ‘real’ living wage, as endorsed by the Scottish Government and the Living Wage Foundation, is good for people as well as business. Even after the wage rate rose to £8.75 last month, a full £1.25 higher than the statutory wage for over 25s, it only confirmed our belief that people fundamentally deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do.”
In addition to the company’s commitment to paying higher wages, Together Energy has also created ambitious training programs which include in-house coaching and a partnership with Strathclyde University that allows employees from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to pursue higher education.
Through this partnership, the university has agreed to ringfence up to 15 places annually on its access course for Together Energy staff, with five spaces also set aside at the Strathclyde Business School from 2018.
The first 10 applicants taking part this year have few, or no, formal qualifications after leaving school. They also all come from the poorest 40% of postcodes in Scotland, as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
Together Energy pays the £475 fee for each of our employees on the access course, while also providing out-of-hours tuition, support through the application process, and assistance in applying for funding and bursaries. The company will then provide flexible working for the candidates to help them balance full-time study with work and family life.
Paul added: “We firmly believe in identifying the brightest and giving them every opportunity to be the best, regardless of their background. We want to have fully-enriched people working with us and university gives them the opportunity to develop and add to their life experience.
“It’s a significant investment, but we think it’s the right thing to do for the local workforce and the initiative will pay itself back in other ways. The knowledge the team picks up will help develop their language skills, meaning they’ll have better conversations with our customers. They’ll also develop expertise they didn’t know they had, and give them the discipline of being in a learning environment.”