EDF attracts business leaders to Sunderland from all over Europe

BUSINESS DELEGATION: Kevin Gatens, front, welcomes visitors from across Europe to EDF Energy in Sunderland.
BUSINESS DELEGATION: Kevin Gatens, front, welcomes visitors from across Europe to EDF Energy in Sunderland.
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TOP business leaders from across Europe were given a special behind-the-scenes tour of a major customer service centre on Wearside.

Sunderland-based EDF Energy played host to a visit from an international delegation of directors from the group’s sites across France, Italy and Poland.

The visit gave the Doxford Business Park operation the chance to share the good work they’re doing to boost staff well-being and “quality working life”.

Kevin Gatens, head of customer contact centre North East, said: “We have a fantastic working environment and that comes down to us working extremely hard to engage with our employees on a range of issues, including health and well-being.

“We’ve established a fantastic health and well-being programme with employees being supported in the workplace with health, lifestyle and education initiatives.”

Among the visitors were Grzegorz Sokolowski, HR director at EDF Polska, Catherine Delpirou, director of group HR at EDF SA, in France, and Giovanni Ballario, organisational development at Edison, Italy.

EDF Energy’s Sunderland site employs more than 1,600 staff.

The European delegation learned how the customer service centre is working towards the North East Better Health at Work award, which recognises and celebrates the hard work and commitment of local employers who are improving the health of their workplaces and their employees.

This involves the customer service centre promoting health awareness to all employees through a series of events and initiatives.

Mr Gatens said: “The purpose of this visit was to enable us to share our positive experiences with our colleagues from sites across Europe.”

The operation also works with trade unions to offer an on-site education programme which encourages staff to pursue lifelong learning ambitions that stretch beyond the requirements of their job role.

Staff can sign up to learn a foreign language or improve their key skills.

Doxford employees also can take advantage of an on-site gym, a Bike2Work scheme, a WellPoint health check kiosk and diet and smoking cessation sessions as well as access to a dedicated occupational health adviser.