- HR firm launches social enterprise with 20% of resources aimed at finding jobs for young unemployed
- Success story includes how a young homeless person was among those who found employment and a place to live
- Firm able to devote one day per week to helping others following support from Aston University growth programme
A Midlands HR boss with the twin passions of youth work and recruitment has turned 20% of her firm’s resources towards helping young unemployed people back into work.
Amy Foster, the founder of Nomad HR and Recruitment based in Atherstone, Warwickshire, is using her skills and knowledge to operate the new social enterprise scheme.
And she has already made a difference by helping six young unemployed people back into work so far, including a homeless person who first needed help in finding an address.
Ms Foster was talking about her experiences in the latest podcast from Aston University in a series called ‘Aston means business: SMEs building resilience to COVID-19 challenges’, presented by journalist Steve Dyson.
She founded Nomad HR and Recruitment, which specialises in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, five years ago after deciding to set up on her own following the birth of her daughter. The former HR manager had also previously worked as a youth worker.
Ms Foster, whose business has a turnover of more than £100,000 a last year, works with a group of consultants and associates to deliver the work she does. And despite the pandemic, she says the last year has still been busy with her clients still recruiting, including one specialising in PPE. But things changed after she was moved by the news of how the pandemic had impacted on young people.
She said: “I suppose, deep down, I’m still a youth worker at heart. They [the young] were the ones losing their jobs mainly, going onto furlough or being made redundant. And I thought I could do something different. The social enterprise is for my two passions – youth work and recruitment – and I set aside time and money to help young people back into work.”
Ms Foster had previously been on a small business course at Aston University which, she said, taught her to delegate and subcontract parts of her work to others to free up time for the social enterprise.
She explained: “The bits I’m good at, the people side of things, the recruitment and the ideas, I can’t be doing all that while sitting with a ‘to do’ list. Anything that wasn’t my job I no longer do. I have somebody from finance, a copywriter, designer, HR consultants, a PR person, a communications person that help me. I only do my job, which gives you loads more time in the day.”
Ms Foster works four days a week on her main, profit-making business and the other day on the social enterprise, getting referrals of young people who want to work from the job centre, and then finding them jobs. She now hopes to formally launch this side of her business as a social enterprise.
She said: “These are motivated young people. Each one is different but it’s about whatever they need help to find a job. It could be from starting a CV through to interview skills, or just us both job-hunting together to see what’s out there and what’s suitable for them.”
Nomad HR has already found jobs for six young people, with two more starting work this month. One job was for a young homeless person, which Ms Foster describes as “one of my greatest success stories”. She said: “We did everything, from finding an address, ID to be able to do it, and a CV.”
Ms Foster plans to stick to her 80:20 ratio of regular business to social enterprise and added: “I have been extremely busy with recruitment since last August. In the last six months I have placed 36 people which is double the number I recruited in the previous year.”
Nomad HR’s social enterprise efforts were described as “inspirational”, “heart-warming” and “courageous” by Nathalie Ormrod, a senior lecturer in Marketing and leader of the BSc Marketing Programme at Aston Business School, who was also interviewed for the podcast.
Ms Ormrod, Aston’s director of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), explained how this UN-sponsored initiative “encourages companies across the world to engage in sustainable activities”. She said sustainable development goals are all “embedded in our curriculum” at Aston.
These range from considering ethics in how employees are managed to the welfare of customers, and include wider corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts such as supporting local communities.
Ms Ormrod added: “I’m very impressed with Amy’s business. It’s inspirational, doing the right thing and courageous how a working mum decided to revisit her work-life balance and devote one day a week towards others.”
▪ Episode 6 of ‘Aston means business’ podcast can be found at https://www2.aston.ac.uk/aston-business-school/podcast.
- Notes to editors
About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long-established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive.
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