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Employment

'A groundbreaking initiative': Why employers are working with Big Issue Recruit

Meet the partners working with us to create real, sustainable opportunities for marginalised people

Paul Armstrong (l) and Dan Brown (r) explain why they're teaming up with Big Issue Recruit

Britain isn’t working. There are more than a million job vacancies and more than a million people unemployed. Why the two aren’t resolving is complex, with more than a little connection to Brexit and the recent pandemic. But with Big Issue Recruit, we plan to do something about it.

The new initiative sees Big Issue Group partnering with organisations across the UK to find employment opportunities for more people, bridging the gap between recruiters and candidates to get Britain working again.

Here two such partners explain how they are joining Big Issue Recruit to change more lives through enterprise, and why other employers should do the same.

Dan Brown, CEO, Positive Transformation Group

Dan Brown

Looking back, Dan Brown can see that there were a couple of people who turned his life around. Homeless at 15, sleeping first in a friend’s car and then outdoors in the village of West Horndon, Essex, things were bad. And they were on the verge of getting much worse. Brown was standing outside a local recruitment company in nearby Brentwood looking at cards in the window and searching for work, when the first of those people came along.  

“The lady who owned it came up, and we were just talking,” Brown recalls. “She helped me find some work in warehouses and things like that. She was really, really supportive, even taking me to and from jobs on various occasions. Eventually she helped me get a telesales job. That led to her finding me another job, which was working for a very small technology company in Essex.” 

Once he got in the door of the tech company, Brown found his second mentor. “He really went out of his way to give me these opportunities to develop inside that company. Then that company ended up being my gateway. They ended up getting bought by a big American company and that was it. I was off into a whole other world.” 

Brown went on to have a distinguished career in the technology sector and is now the chief executive of the Positive Transformation Group, an organisation he founded to connect ethical businesses to good causes. Inspired by his own experience with homelessness, Brown says he was particularly keen to get involved with Big Issue Recruit.  

“Particularly now, with the economic climate and everything else, there are so many people who just don’t realise they’re on the brink of it all just literally collapsing,” he says. 

“What I love about The Big Issue is that it’s there for the people who have just fallen off the edge, trying to catch them and provide them with opportunities and resources and access to people, to just help them back up.” 

Through Positive Transformation Group, Brown is planning to connect Big Issue Recruit to potential funding for training and development, as well as offering technical support. It’s all about offering people that same chance that he was given all those years ago. 

“On a personal level,” he says, “I just want to find opportunities for people that are in a similar situation to me when I was 15.”   

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

Paul Armstrong, Chairman of The Permira Foundation

Paul Armstrong

We welcome The Permira Foundation as a founding partner in the development and launch of Big Issue Recruit. Permira is a global investment firm specialising in the technology, healthcare, consumer and services sectors.

The Permira Foundation builds partnerships with social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. Over the past three years The Permira Foundation has provided vital support to Big Issue Group, helping our vendors through the Covid-19 crisis, and supporting initiatives to drive financial inclusion,
digitalisation and employability. 

Chairman Paul Armstrong said: “Getting those far from the labour market into fulfilling work is key to building self-respect and resilience. It is also fundamental to maintaining a successful society. The Permira Foundation is delighted to see the launch of Big Issue Recruit. This is a groundbreaking initiative driven by Big Issue’s proven track-record, vast knowledge and expertise in engaging with those often excluded.

“The Permira Foundation is delighted that our colleagues across Permira, particularly in our Data and HR teams, have been able to help Big Issue Recruit realise this ambition. We look forward to continuing our partnership, as this programme goes from strength to strength.”

Are you an employer with vacancies to fill? Or a candidate looking for work? Find out more about how to get involved with Big Issue Recruit at jobs.bigissue.com

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member.You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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