Big Issue Group launches new specialist recruitment service

Big Issue Group launches new specialist recruitment service

James Bradbury, a former Big Issue vendor is studying to work in construction. (Photo: Chocolate Films)

Big Issue Group is calling on businesses to back a new UK wide recruitment service called ‘Big Issue Recruit’.

The service offers people who are further from the labour market access to their desired job roles by pairing them with personal Job Coaches.

In the wake of the cost-of-living crisis and record levels of poverty and inequality, there are now close to 15 million people in the UK trapped in poverty.

While unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, with 1.26m unemployed people actively seeking work*, for the first time there are now more job vacancies to fill (1.3m) than people seeking employment.

There is an urgent need for an upskilled workforce. Big Issue Recruit (BIR), which aims to bring people from a more diverse range of backgrounds into the job market, is a new solution to this crisis.

BIR, the latest innovative venture from Big Issue Group, is a specialist recruitment service, dedicated to supporting people who face barriers to joining the workforce into sustainable employment. It is a person-centred service and free to candidates, supporting individuals pre, during and post-employment.

Job coaches will work with candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, who are experiencing poverty. The candidates will range from prison leavers, caregivers, those with skills gaps, to people experiencing social, health, financial or digital barriers to work and, of course, Big Issue magazine vendors keen to move into employment.

On signing up candidates are partnered with a personal Job Coach, to understand and determine their needs and goals. Building confidence, skills and resilience and coaching individuals through the selection process, to secure their desired roles.

Finally, Job Coaches will work with candidates to establish a great relationship with their new employer and support them in their new role and career.

BIG is seeking partner employers to support this new, innovative service by using BIR to fill their vacancies and bring new candidates into the labour market.

In return, BIR will offer:

  • Tailored support to hiring managers to prepare them to work with people with complex needs and best sustain their placements.
  • Capacity building post hire to support candidates in their placements, whilst they settle into their new roles
  • Management and promotion of employer vacancies through
  • The ability to demonstrate the social value of the investment with an annual impact report, based on SROI methodology, which evidence’s ESG commitments

James Bradbury, former Big Issue vendor in Leicester and Big Issue Recruit’s first candidate, said: “I was homeless, on the streets for 2 years before going to sell The Big Issue. I needed support with everything, Big Issue Group helped build my confidence.

“The staff got me involved with all different types of events, I sold at Network Rail’s Milton Keynes office for World Homelessness Day which I really enjoyed, I met lots of different people. They helped me get a card reader so that my sales went up.

“I’ve just started a training course to go into construction work. I’ve got good customer service skills and feel much more confident about getting into employment now.”

Paul Cheal, Group CEO of The Big Issue Group, added: “In line with our new five year strategy of changing lives through enterprise, we are committed to supporting even more people living in poverty into earning or working with employers across the UK.

“Our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise, to unlock social and economic opportunity.

“Big Issue Recruit is a reliable, ethical, end-to-end method of recruitment which reduces the risk and cost of candidate churn. We are seeking partners who want to create employment pathways and work with us to fill their employment vacancies, diversify their workforce and create significant social value.

“Our service creates social value through the provision of training, employability, health and wellbeing support, F&DI and ultimately sustainable careers.”

Paul Armstrong, chairman of The Permira Foundation, a Founding Partner organisation of BIR, commented: “Big Issue Recruit is a ground-breaking initiative driven by Big Issue Group’s proven track-record, vast knowledge and expertise in engaging with those often excluded and combining this with businesses in a partnership to help people into employment. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Big Issue Recruit, as this programme goes from strength to strength.”

Jack Parsons, CEO of Youth Group, and Big Issue Group Ambassador, who is throwing his support behind the venture, said: “We have to do more to help people through these difficult times and support them to feel like they can ‘win’ at work, in their communities and in society – which is exactly what Big Issue Group is doing.

“I’m really excited to see the impact Big Issue Recruit has over the next few years, the scheme has come at a pivotal time, with many people still facing barriers to employment despite record job vacancies. The work Big Issue Group do to support marginalised people has never been as important as it is today.”

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