An app helping disadvantaged groups find and sustain jobs has been adopted by more than 30 local authorities, DWP and leading charities across the UK.
Award-winning social enterprise Beam has launched a new app that connects struggling job-seekers with a supportive online community who provide financial backing, mentorship and encouragement. It also matches them with live job opportunities with ethical employers.
The app is already being used by hundreds of homeless people, the long-term unemployed, refugees, domestic abuse victims and prison leavers to ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to accessing job opportunities. Beam gives users smartphones to access the app, which is designed to digitise the job search for disadvantaged groups who have previously had to rely on in-person support.
More than 25,000 members of the public have signed up to provide moral and financial support through the app, making it the largest online community of its kind. The app also lets users post written updates, photos and videos, as they embark on their journey into a new job. They can also interact with other job-seekers and spur each other on to reach their goals.
Beam’s app also allows users to view and apply for high-quality job opportunities from Beam’s employer partners - who guarantee feedback - including Bupa, Pret and Arriva. The app is personalised to each job-seeker, showcasing jobs based on preferred career, hours and commute distance. Users also have access to targeted resources and a Beam employment coach, who provides job support directly through the app via a WhatsApp integration.
Seb Barker, co-founder and COO of Beam, said:
“Traditional services targeting disadvantaged job-seekers take a one-size-fits all approach, with limited flexibility. Beam’s innovative approach allows us to reach people directly through their smartphone, resulting in better, quicker outcomes. And because of our WhatsApp integration, we’re helping people to progress their journey into a job from one of the most popular apps in the world.”
Since launching in 2017, Beam has supported more than 650 disadvantaged people into jobs. Beam also has a crowdfunding platform, which helps job-seekers fundraise the cost of items that could be a barrier to them starting work, such as training, work tools, a laptop, smartphone or childcare costs. With the launch of its new app, Beam hopes to equip job-seekers with the skills and professional networks needed to get back into the workforce.
“The UK is currently experiencing one of the biggest labour shortages of our time. To meet this unprecedented challenge, we need to use technology to empower disadvantaged communities who have been left out of the job market, to gain the skills and confidence they need to participate in the economy.”
41-year-old single mum of four, Aida, was a full-time carer for her terminally ill son for four years, until he passed away in 2019. The Haringey resident currently lives in temporary accommodation with her children and has been volunteering at a school. Beam helped Aida crowdfund £3,300 from 96 members of the public to go towards her bus driver training, childcare costs, a laptop, travel and work clothes. After applying for a job through Beam’s app, she’s now on her way to becoming a bus driver.
She said: “Beam’s app is a great place to connect with people who have been in your shoes. When I read about people’s stories and see how they are now in a new home or job, it makes me believe I can do it too. It’s made me realise I’m not alone and allowed me to open up and share my story. It’s amazing knowing there’s help out there. Beam has helped me work towards my passions and search for the job I want to do, which is to become a bus driver. I’m now in the interview process for an amazing role.”
Amy Caul, Commissioning Officer at Haringey Council, said: “Beam’s approach is refreshing and innovative and more than that, it works! Their model has encouraged the Commissioning Team to be more creative, to explore other pilot projects with new ideas and to branch out into exploring technology and digital ways of supporting people affected by homelessness. One of the best bits of my month is hearing about and seeing Beam’s work brought to life in case studies and feedback from people they’ve supported into work.”
Beam is partnered with more than 30 local authorities, DWP and leading charities across the UK, who refer disadvantaged individuals to its service. In order for someone to access Beam’s app, they need to be referred by a partner organisation.