Beam: Crowdfunder can spot the talent to plug labour gap

Alex Stephany, founder and chief executive of Beam, said firms should “look in new places for talent”. Homeless people are referred to his crowdfunding project via charities or local councils and its team of caseworkers help each person to create an employment or housing plan. They then create an individual fundraising profile – which is also known as a campaign – to cover the cost of each individual’s goal and the public can donate.

The enterprise has helped 726 people into work so far, with businesses including healthcare group Bupa, fast food chain Tossed and bus operator Arriva offering employment. Mr Stephany said: “The message I have for every CEO and HR director is look in new places for talent and hire people who have been written off many times.

“The people that come through platforms like Beam are really determined to do a good job and grateful for these opportunities. You can fill roles in the business that you need to fill.”

Mr Stephany’s comments come as many sectors suffer major staffing issues, such as the hospitality sector, with official figures in June revealing that overall job vacancies in the industry rose to a new record of 1.3 million.

The cost-of-living crisis has made it even more vital jobs are found for those on Beam, with Mr Stephany stating that the need for the service is “just growing more and more”.

He added: “We now have dozens of authorities who rely on Beam and it’s clear the cost of living is biting. It’s the basics of food and utilities becoming really unaffordable. That is why we try to get people into good quality jobs.”

The enterprise has helped to fund 1,192 campaigns and more than £3million has been donated. It said 65 percent of those helped come from ethnic minority backgrounds and 70 percent of female beneficiaries are single mothers.

Candidates are notified of vacancies through a Beam app alert. By October, it is expected to help its 100th person into a job or home. Mr Stephany said: “Last month we changed 64 lives. It took us over a year and a half when we started to help that many people.”

Aberdeen City Council became the first authority in Scotland to partner with the online fundraising platform last month and Beam is now looking to expand beyond the UK.