HTM | Homeless to Highways
Highway Traffic Management (HTM) have taken a thought leading, trailblazing step in their recruitment process by giving hope and opportunities to those fallen on hard times and found themselves in a situation of homelessness.
Marcus Casey of HTM takes up the story of how this initiative became part of the company’s recruitment activity.
“It has probably been a couple of years now since I first came up with the idea of recruiting homeless people, but I always put it to the back of my mind thinking it was a bit ridiculous. Then, towards the end of last Summer I was watching a programme about bailiffs who had just evicted someone and he ended up on the streets with nowhere to go. This guy was just a normal person who had been down on his luck and through no real fault of his own ended up living on the streets. It was then I had a ‘eureka’ moment and thought surely there’s something we can do to help.
“In October I went to a ‘find it in Birmingham’ breakfast meeting where one of our clients, Amey PLC had put on a meeting to discuss their future work within Birmingham to their supply chain. It was there that I spoke to Eddie Fellows (Highways Network Manager for Amey) and pitched my idea to him, instantly he thought it was a fantastic idea. He then put me in touch with a gentleman called Shariat from the Birmingham Business Charter who was eager for us to work together. The very next day we were speaking with Birmingham City Council who gave us contact details of 3 charities that work with homeless people. I emailed all 3 charities with the idea that we had, and St Basils- who work with 16 – 25 year olds- came back first. So, we arranged a meeting with them and discussed what we could offer.
“We spoke with Jean Templeton from St Basils and discussed what we do as a company and what we could offer. She asked us to write up a bit of a job description and present it to the St Basil’s support workers. We wrote the job description and had a meeting with the support workers who then spoke to various people under their care and asked them if they wanted to apply for a Traffic Management Operative position at Highway Traffic Management.”
From there, HTM had 18 people apply for the role. Initially, the company had set out with the intention to only employ 2 people so that firstly, the new venture would be easier to manage and secondly, to be able to give the guys the level of dedicated support any new starters need.
HTM interviewed all 18. The standard of candidate was unexpectedly high, and after a thorough process, 5 were asked to come back for a second interview. HTM then had the task of trying to whittle them down to 2. This turned out to be particularly difficult, as 3 out of the 5 interviewees totally shone- so the company took the step to recruit all 3!
The 3 guys have been with HTM since the start of November and are what Marcus can only describe as ‘flying’. They have far superseded all expectations and a 12-month programme for development and support has been put in place. This includes:
1st / 2nd week – Speak to them every day to see how they are getting on.
4th week – bring them in for a development chat.
12 weeks – End their probation and fully employ them.
6 months – Be in their own accommodation.
12 months – Be out of St Basil’s support.
“We’re just coming up to the 3 month mark and we are already way ahead of target, two of the guys moved into their own accommodation a week before Christmas.
At Highway Traffic Management as we expand we need to employ, and to do this we like to promote within and move everybody up a step, this enables us to be able to employ unqualified people and train our new employees in the HTM way.
Therefore, I think this project is perfect not just for the Traffic Management industry. If we can do it why can’t others?”
Highway Traffic Management has pledged to St Basil’s that they will endeavour to take on at least 5 operatives a year from their charity.