Share

cover art for UNIPART: Helping charities thrive: learning on the job, criminal justice and the 'Unipart Way'

The Lens – UK Responsible Business Podcast

UNIPART: Helping charities thrive: learning on the job, criminal justice and the 'Unipart Way'

Season 2, Ep. 14

In the latest episode of The Lens, Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive, John Neill CBE and CEO of Spark Inside, Baillie Aaron join our host Oli Barrett MBE for a conversation. Our guests discuss judgement and policy when employing people who’ve been through the criminal justice system, the ways in which the charity and corporate realms intersect and how each can best support, influence and inform the other and, how to prepare for a burgeoning digital revolution.


Oli and John also explore the story of the Unipart U, corporate universities and learning from the factory floor. Listeners are granted a behind-the-scenes view of John’s journey in becoming one of Britain’s youngest Managing Directors, now a business icon with decades of experience. John and Oli also cover the importance of coaching, coding and how to learn at 10 and do at 11. 


Baillie, the Founder and CEO of Spark Inside, a not-for-profit organisation providing valuable coaching support in prisons to encourage rehabilitation and reduce reoffending, describes her passion for entrepreneurship, diplomacy and development. She, Oli and John also discuss the British criminal justice system, politics, good books, leadership and human-centric language.




Time Stamps


[00:00] Our host Oli Barrett MBE introduces our guests, John Neill and Baillie Aaron. [01:20] John Neill kicks off our conversation by talking Oli through his career beginnings. His relationship with General Motors, his ambition, working with British Leyland and beginning a Managing Director at 29. [4:36] John details British Leyland returning to the private sector and the survival of the company now known as Unipart, his role in the transition and putting lessons into practice. [6:17] John explains a little about Unipart’s role today, it’s production, consulting, logistics operations, partnership with the NHS and preparing for Brexit. [7:52] Oli asks John about the ‘Unipart U’ a corporate university, the first of its kind. [12:00] John describes the response to the Unipart U and how a rapidly changing digital landscape affects and continues to affect jobs across the world.


[15:12] Oli introduces Baillie and Spark Inside. Baillie explains her motivations for founding the organisation, how coaching in prisons works in practise and what constitutes effective coaching. [16:46] Baillie describes the origins of her journey, her study of economics, public policy and criminal justice and her passion for social advocacy. [17:58] Baillie talks about her time at Harvard Kennedy School and how this inspired her to begin working in prisons. [19:28] Oli asks Baillie about her view of the UK’s criminal justice system and the lack of systemic change, reoffending rates and why ‘prison doesn’t work’. [20:50] ‘What would you say to a large employer listening today on how they give an opportunity to someone who’s spent time behind bars?’ asks Oli. [22.25] Baillie describes her own policy at Spark Inside for dealing with biases against people who’ve been criminally convicted in the past. [23:15] John commends Baillie on her conviction and speaks a little on Business In The Community award winners such as Timpson, Nemi Teas and Recycling Lives, offering people rewarding opportunities.


[24:33] Baillie discussed the need for person-centred language, why labels can cause harm and how terms like ‘young offenders are unhelpful. [25:29] Oli asks Baillie what she views as a ‘helpful partnership’ between charity and corporate sector businesses and she describes her personal experiences, transferable skills and the current search for her replacement as CEO of Spark Inside. [28:12] Oli and Baillie discuss ‘growth CEOs’ and the evolution of a company. [29:08] Oli and John discuss how to thrive in a tough role and John provides advice and insight on his thought processes, what works and what doesn’t. He also describes his journey in learning to code. [32:23] Baillie puts her questions to John regarding corporate and charity partnerships.


[35:00] John, Oli and Baillie discuss the need for business leaders to do more. [35:44] Oli asks our guests which living person they’d most like to meet for coffee, their recommendations for The Lens reading list. [36:44] Oli asks John for his view on how well the UK’s currently being run and John gives a candid response. [40:45] Baillie shares the advice she’d give to her younger self and her plans for the future. John also shares his advice and two more book recommendations.




The Lens Reading List


John’s choice for The Lens reading list, a book he says changed his life is The Machine that Changed the World. A 1991 book based on MIT’s five-million, five-year study on the future of the automobile, written by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. The book popularised the concept of ‘lean production’ worldwide.


Baillie’s recommendation for the list is Franz Kafka’s The Trial. This topical pick speaks volumes on the sometime senselessness of bureaucracy, she says. Our guests also suggest two more books to add to our ever-growing shelf: Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoffrey Colvin and Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed.


unipart.com


sparkinside.org


bitc.org.uk


#thelenspodcast




The Lens Podcast


Powered by Fujitsu, supported by McCann and in partnership with One Young World, The Lens represents the breadth, diversity and priorities of the responsible business agenda. From gender equality to zero hours contracts, learning on the factory floor to activist businesses, The Lens covers a range of topics from a host of varying perspectives. 


Each episode brings together a business and future leader to foster disruptive conversations and fresh connections. Innovators and CEOs join Oli Barrett in the studio for a unique conversation covering their journeys, lessons learned, advice, insight and of course, the inspirational person they’d most like to meet for coffee. 


Business in the Community is The Prince's Responsible Business Network. We convene a unique network of purposeful leaders to share insight, expertise and create innovative programmes that deliver impact. Together our ambition is to make the UK the world leader at responsible business. 


Don’t forget to follow The Lens on Instagram and to rate, review and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. instagram.com/thelenspodcast

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 5. IHG and PwC: Global Goals – is everyone pulling in the same direction?

    36:18
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Catherine Dolton, Chief Sustainability Officer at IHG Hotels and Resorts; and Anouar Ouali, Senior Associate, PwC. IHG Hotels & Resorts is one of the world's leading hotel companies with more than 6,300 hotels across more than 100 countries and around 345,000 colleagues worldwide, and PwC is a multinational professional services brand of firms; the second-largest professional services network in the world and is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms. PwC is in 157 countries, across 742 locations, with 328,000 people.In this episode, we discuss global goals and ask, is everyone pulling in the same direction?
  • 4. HAYS and GOOGLE - Is age just a number in the workplace?

    35:08
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Marketing UK&I at Hays; and Lisa De Wachter, Global Brand Account Lead Food Tech, Google Netherlands - Amsterdam.In this episode, we will discuss how people in underrepresented groups can fair well in the workplace, and we specifically dive in to the issue of age – what’s the reality for workers over the age of 50, and investigate the business case for attracting, retaining and retraining individuals who may feel they have additional barriers in the workplace.
  • 3. GREGGS and PWC: Putting business at the heart of communities is essential for everyone

    34:36
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Roisin Currie, Chief Executive of Greggs; and Jessica Garbett, Senior Manager, Workforce Consulting Team, PwC. In this episode, we’ll explore how putting business at the heart of communities is essential for everyone. We’ll also discuss some of the tough issues out there such as employing those who have a criminal conviction and how businesses are literally stepping up to the plate to address food poverty.UK Hopes and Fears Survey 2023 - PwC UKGreggs | Doing GoodFor employers - Social Mobility CommissionThe Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged by Sam Friedman | Goodreads
  • 2. DANSKE BANK and GOOGLE: Workplace inclusion – why every voice must be heard

    33:26
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Vicky Davies, CEO, Danske Bank and new Chair of Business in the Community Northern Ireland; and Tomas Flier, EMEA Inclusion Lead and Diversity Business Partner for Spain, Italy and Portugal, Google, USA. In this episode, we’ll take a deep dive into workplace inclusion – how can businesses ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and what companies are doing to help their people whatever their circumstances, and when challenges come along like caring responsibilities.
  • 1. ULSTER UNIVERSITY and VOICING VOICES: Creating human-centred workplaces

    35:25
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Damian McAlister, Chief People Officer, Ulster University; and Ayan Said, Founder of Voicing Voices, an organisation that embeds intersectional inclusivity into its clients’ culture, policy and community. In this episode, we will discuss how employers can create a human-centred approach to people in the workplace – what it means, what things businesses are doing well and where improvements need to be made. Find out more by listening to the latest episode of The Lens.
  • 12. AKQA and Suade: Designing Responsible Business with imagination, commitment and leadership

    31:47
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Ajaz Ahmed, Founder and CEO of AKQA, a global design and innovation agency owned by WPP and providing ingenious solutions for companies like Nike, Volvo, Sony, Sky and even Tinder; and Diana Paredes, CEO & Co-Founder of Suade, a platform that allows financial institutions to transparently deal with their regulatory calculations and reporting.  In this episode, we will discuss how businesses can be responsible through imagination, commitment and good leadership; and how giving time and energy to initiatives that are changing the world is so beneficial.  Find out more by listening to the latest episode of The Lens. 
  • The Lens Special: Live from One Young World Summit

    11:55
    In this bonus episode, our host Sarah Travers shares stories from One Young World Ambassadors who visited Belfast in October 2023 for the One Young World Summit. She shares who they are, where they work, what part of the world they are from, and of course why they are attending the Summit. Importantly, she gets to the nitty gritty of how they plan to change the world and finds out what they are already doing to make a difference. We hope you enjoy this special episode and are inspired to find out more about responsible business by getting in touch with Business in the Community at www.bitc.org.uk.
  • 11. SUEZ AND AUDI: Pioneering circular economy approaches to responsible business

    36:23
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Dr Adam Read, Chief Sustainability & External Affairs Officer at SUEZ UK – a leading global provider of environmental solutions; and from Germany, Philipp Eder, Sustainability Strategist / Procurement Strategy, AUDI AG.  In this episode, we will explore the circular economy from two very different organisations, but from our two guests’ perspectives – both of whom are committed to making the world a better place. 
  • 10. VERIZON BUSINESS AND BAYER: When our people win, everyone wins

    33:13
    This month our host Sarah Travers is joined by Tony Judd, Managing Director of Verizon Business for the UK and Ireland. Verizon is one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, and we hear about Verizon’s plans for the future and how it is taking its responsibility for people and the planet to the next level. And our second guest is Loek Hageman, Early Careers Talent Development Programs, Bayer. Based in Berlin, Loek’s company, Bayer, is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life, and at the same time, it aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power.  In this episode, we will explore how Tony and Loek’s shared passion for people development plays out in both of their businesses, how development talent for the future is critical for business success, and we’ll ask them what a responsible future looks like for them personally, professionally and digitally.  Find out more by listening to the latest episode of The Lens.