Community involvement and development

Ultra actively supports the communities in which we operate. Our businesses are encouraged to make a difference in our communities through social initiatives and charitable activities.

As responsible corporate citizens, we play an active role in ‘giving back’ to the communities where we live and work. We believe that by working with local partners towards shared goals, and by empowering our teams to engage with local people, we can create lasting positive contributions to promote social and economic development.

Ultra supports our employees’ involvement in social initiatives to make a positive impact in our local communities. They are involved with initiatives such as collecting and donating clothing, food and supplies to groups in need of extra support, volunteering in community projects, planting trees and promoting STEM-related activities in schools. We always welcome ideas for such initiatives at a local and Group level to encourage ongoing engagement.

COVID-19 fund

In line with Ultra’s ‘Communities’ goal, we launched our COVID-19 Fund in May 2020, which has been created specifically to support COVID-19 charities and initiatives in our local communities.

Due to the urgent need for donations during the pandemic, we asked our employees to nominate projects that they would like to be considered for support from our Fund, including local charities, initiatives or other community causes that are directly impacted due to COVID-19.

Since inception, we have donated more than $140,000 across 34+ organisations where our teams have had a demonstrable positive impact.

Click here to see examples of the charities we have supported through the Fund.

We are currently working on creating a ONE Ultra Community Days framework. Our employees will be encouraged to volunteer time to support charities, environmental projects, STEM and educational programmes, as well as other social initiatives that align with our Ultra ASPIRE values. This active contribution will support the engagement of our employees with initiatives that are important to them and make a real difference to the communities in which we operate. More to follow in 2021.

Education and culture

Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activities in schools, colleges and universities are supported across all our businesses, and within our supply chain.

Our STEM outreach forms the basis of many of our local activities. We have many STEM ambassadors across the Group – a network we are keen to expand further to help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Our people use their professional skills to make a positive difference. Our approach is to grow sustainable long-term relationships with local schools, colleges and universities. We believe that having an active STEM programme within Ultra creates an innovative, engaging, inclusive and high-performing culture.

Examples:

  • Ultra Australia established a scholarship called the Playford Trust in Australia. Each year the Trust and its partners across industry, government, the education sector and the community provide close to A$0.5m in scholarships, internships and awards to university undergraduates, Honours, Masters and PhD students. Establishing the scholarship through the Playford Trust allows Ultra access across many South Australian educational establishments. We awarded the first scholarship in 2020
  • In 2019, Ultra Maritime Systems continued its close and long-standing relationship with Dalhousie University. This includes: Accepting Co-op placements: 17 Engineering, one QA, and one IT student
  • Ultra CIS has a strong relationship with South-East Physics Network (SEPnet), sponsoring eight-week summer placements. One of our systems engineers has attended a SEPnet Expo event and a Women in Engineering event, and has been invited by her old university, Royal Holloway, to deliver a talk related to her career progression to students
  • Ultra Ocean Systems has relationships with George Mason University, Virginia Tech, Boston University, and the University of Rhode Island. They ran career fairs and brought in a total of 10 interns in addition to hiring three full-time students to start in 2020. They also hired Co-op students into their production group in Braintree from a local vocational school – Blue Hills Regional Technical High School
  • Ultra Energy has many initiatives ongoing with local schools and universities in the UK with expansion in 2021 into the USA. Their academic engagement programme focuses on developing relationships with a diverse set of students through sponsoring summer and more extended 12-month placements. We supervise BSc, MEng and MSc individual and group projects, lecturing on Engineering and Physics courses, reviewing and contributing to course syllabus, undertaking R&D in conjunction with academic departments and being an active member for External Advisory Boards, e.g. SEPnet, Lancaster University, Southampton University.

Employment creation and skills development

Our brilliant people are what makes Ultra unique, and we recognise the importance of listening to, and understanding, the views of our employees throughout the Group.

We have invested heavily in our internal talent management processes. We started the year by completing aspirations, capability and engagement (ACE) development discussions with all our senior management team members. We used this information to create talent profiles for critical and high-potential staff, culminating in much higher quality talent discussions.

Technology development and access

Technology is at the heart of Ultra’s mission to ‘Innovate today for a safer tomorrow’.

In every market where we operate, Ultra’s work is about using our knowhow and ingenuity to protect and defend what matters.

We know that technology and harnessing technological innovation is key to supporting sustainable development.

We are investing in our engineering teams across the Group, providing targeted training in sustainability in design, and we are always looking for new projects that support sustainable development.

From a sustainability perspective, often, our projects require us to upgrade systems or keep existing complex systems operational for decades without having a significant impact on our customers’ operations. This approach typically saves time, money, and has a lesser effect on the use of the world’s raw materials and production of waste.

Health

The wellbeing and safety of Ultra’s employees is a critical priority for the Board, Executive Team and leadership of all our businesses. Not just as an ethical pillar of social responsibility, but because a healthy, valued team working in a safe environment is a foundation-stone of high performance.

We are committed to creating a culture which allows our colleagues to reach their potential, within an inclusive and supportive environment. We encourage everyone working at Ultra or thinking about joining us, to tell us what support and adjustments they need to be their best at work. We’re working hard to make the processes that support this more effective, recognising that we have more to do in this area.

Our businesses provide tools, programmes and support that enable colleagues to balance their work‑life with their commitments, supporting career development opportunities at each life stage.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Across many of our sites, we have mental health first aiders or Health, Security, and Wellness committees which are there to encourage people to talk more freely about mental health. We also offer employee assistance programmes to employees which enable them to access advice and counselling 24/7. Mental health and wellbeing are important to us. We aim to promote early intervention which enables recovery quicker, reduces stigma and creates a positive culture.

Flexible working

We are in the process of rolling out a global flexible working policy (for roles in which this can be done). It includes a common way to conduct risk assessments to ensure that we set our employees up effectively and safely to work from home and a common way to apply for a change to current working practices.

To underpin this new policy, we will also be working on how we can support employees from a mental and physical wellbeing perspective if they can work from home as well as training for employees and managers on how to make virtual/remote working individually and in teams work effectively.

Our employees’ wellbeing is important to us, so we offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits. The content available depends on where our employees are based. For example, Ultra employees can get discounted rates at gyms and health clubs, health screening, private health insurance, and private dental in a number of locations globally.

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