On the weekend of the 25th of April I was joined by four CDCers and one CDC alumna to spend the weekend in Preston to help to run and facilitate a joint conference between volunteers from the VPC and the Fire Service Cadets. The national VPC (Voluntary Police Cadets) is the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) supported framework for the Police Cadet programmes across the UK. Capgemini Consulting, and in particular their graduates, or CDCers, have worked with the VPC for many years. The cadets are aged between 13 and 18 with around 25% coming from a ‘vulnerable’ background. One of the main aims of this truly tremendous cause is to inspire young people to participate and make a positive impact in their communities, in turn providing cadets with a solid foundation on which to develop.

The volunteers are the people who give up their free time in order to run the cadets’ sessions and the aim of the conference was to bring together the best ideas from the two organisations around training, volunteering and retention. It was one of our jobs to help to facilitate these discussions and capture the most valuable outputs.

Every quarter two CDCers are aligned within the CDC framework to work with the VPC – the roles are varied and fascinating. The benefits of this relationship are twofold. Firstly, the VPC benefit from our consulting expertise, and secondly, we in the CDC can practice core consulting skills outside of client work.

In reference to this conference we held a number of meetings with the VPC to make sure we had a thorough plan in place for the weekend. It is a rare opportunity to get so many volunteers in the same place at the same time so we knew that we had to be clear on the outcomes that were required from the conference.

The six-strong Capgemini team travelled from London to Preston on the Friday evening ready for an early start the next day. We delivered an introduction to Capgemini and the CDC to the whole group and facilitated some ice-breaker exercises. Once the conference broke into smaller workshops a member of our team facilitated each, and captured the outcomes accordingly. The conference ended on the Sunday lunchtime and we have now turned around all the outputs into a document that the VPC and fire service are using to make positive changes throughout both of their organisations.

The weekend wasn’t all work and no play however. There was room for spot of karaoke and a pub quiz, which gave us an opportunity to relax and get to know the volunteers in a fun environment. Having had a fantastic weekend, utilising consulting skills and working with great volunteers, I was even quickly able to get over my team’s controversial loss in the pub quiz.

Dougie MacKenzie, DTBA
Dougie is a consultant within the Digital Transformation and Business Analytics team within Capgemini Consulting. He joined Capgemini in September ’13 after graduating from Durham University with a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics and specialises in data driven insight to drive innovation and business change.