On February 3, 2018, The Centre (formerly CCR CSR) attended a glitzy Chinese New Year gala show at Concord Pottery – a ceramics factory supplying a major coffee retailer in Dongguan. For us, the main draw was having the opportunity to chat with the children of the factory’s day-care centre, the teachers, parent workers and the factory’s general manager Lake Law. In this post, we sat down with Mr. Law to learn a bit more about the operational side of the day-care centre and how it has impacted his workers.
For four years, Concord Pottery has successfully been running a day-care centre within its factory premises. The day-care centre welcomes all children of employees (over 3 years old) and opens during after-school hours from 5pm to 9pm every day of the week. Since many workers’ shifts end later in the evening, this day-care centre has become an indispensable service for parent workers, many of whom credit the centre for allowing them to migrate to Dongguan together as a family. There are many draws to the centre such as free admission, low children-teacher ratios, regular activities and trips, a steady in-flow of volunteers etc. But how did Concord manage to pull it all off?
Community engagement is key
“I’m responsible for engaging local government, liaising with local schools and inviting volunteers from the local polytechnic university. This part is very challenging,” Lake tells us. However, he’s clearly been doing a good job because the factory is widely recognized in the industry as a best practice, and is often invited to share its experiences with other factories, brands and even at global-level events. In Dongguan, the childcare centre is also highly regarded by local officials who sometimes organize trips to the centre, proudly taking pictures of the cheerful attendees. In general, community engagement has been one of the main pillars of the centre’s success, Lake tells us. “We work with the local community to organize visits so that the children can broaden their horizons.” Lake stresses that the centre is not there to “teach” children educational content; rather, it is a place where they can extend their life experience, while parents can work at ease.
The centre reduces workers’ costs
Since the centre offers a free after-school childcare solution, more and more parent workers have been able to move to the city with their children in tow. And it’s helped them lower their costs. “Because workers live with their children, it reduces the need for them to go back to their hometowns so often,” Lake says. Also, the cost of day-care in their hometowns often costs as much as the private schools in Dongguan, he continues, so there’s a big incentive for parents to bring their children along with them for the long-term. Lake stresses the importance of the long-term commitment required by parents, and Concord is fortunate to be able to offer a day-care centre that serves the needs of working parents all year round. As such, Concord has found a highly effective method of supporting parent workers, lowering their costs and at the same time, building up a stable, committed workforce.
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