Evenbreak first went live on 1st March, 2011, after many months of development, making sure the site was as accessible as possible. So today is our first birthday – a time to reflect on the achievements of our first year, and look forward to the coming year.
The idea had come about in the previous September, the original concept and name coming from Mike Trup, a friend and shareholder of my training business. It took until the following March to ensure the site met all the required standards.
And what a year it’s been! In some ways the time has flown, but looking back, a lot has happened in that time. In no particular order:
We gained some amazing inclusive employers who understood immediately the benefits that Evenbreak could bring them, even ‘tho we were still new and largely untested. Companies like the BBC, Yorkshire Water, Zurich Finance, Smiths Medical, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Haringey Council, Sightsavers, Ernst and Young to name but a few, as well as a number of smaller organisations and charities.
We gained our first corporate sponsor – Network Rail – who are keen to attract talent from a wide range of sources and recognised the “pivotal” role that Evenbreak could play in helping them attract talented disabled candidates.
We became a Millennium Award winner, which not only attracted a small grant but also access to much support and advice and guidance, and importantly, the chance to share best practice with other social enterprises.
We also gained the “two ticks” disability symbol, and became a “Mindful Employer”.
We gained the prestigious “Proud to be Clear Assured” award, which is a rigorous process to ensure the organisation has disability friendly recruitment processes.
We held a launch reception at the House of Commons in January, with some wonderful guest speakers, and a fantastic turnout of large inclusive employers.
We formed partnership arrangements with a number of agencies and charities to assist their candidates in having access to Evenbreak (e.g. Remploy, Leonard Cheshire Disability, A4e, and a number of others).
We attracted a large number of candidates with a vast range of skills and expertise.
We added a blog to the website, and started sending e-bulletins to registered candidates and employers.
We started talks with potential partner organisations such as Equal Approach and the Clear Company.
Most importantly we proved beyond doubt that the concept works, and were delighted to hear from candidates who had found work through Evenbreak, often having thought they may never work again.
There have been many challenges, and lots of high points. So, what of the future? This year I’d like to focus on offering a much wider range of jobs, sectors and locations for disabled candidates to access, and to increase the number of talented candidates for employers to choose from. Financial sustainability is a requirement for any business, and as a social enterprise I hope we will achieve a surplus which can fund many ways of promoting the benefits of employing disabled people. I’d like to commission videos which challenge current perceptions about the range of jobs disabled people can and do excel in. I’d like to facilitate conferences and events where employers can learn from each other. I’d like to continue looking for opportunities to work collaboratively with other organisations in the sector who share the same values and aims.
So I’ll allow myself a few minutes to celebrate our first year, before focusing on the many and exciting tasks ahead. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of the first year, and here’s to many more!