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First Ark Saves Money Buying from the Social Enterprise Fusion21

Beyond Recruitment more than just a recruitment service.

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First Ark Ltd was created in 2010, as  the parent company which sets and oversees the vision and direction of the First Ark Group. Providing a range of corporate services to the Group, First Ark also campaigns on the things which matter the most to our customers and communities and takes a strong thought leadership role.

The First Ark Group has a unique social business model which consists of five companies all working together to create success and generate life changing opportunities.  Each company contributes to the success in a different way but collectively create fantastic conditions for generating social impact and making a difference to the lives of the people who live and work in our communities.

The First Ark Group has a commitment to provide local jobs for local people, whether this is either being directly employed by First Ark or with companies within their supply chain. This commitment is instilled in all of their contracts

There 4 other organisations within First Ark Ltd

  • Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) social housing provider
  • Vivark – Facilities Management
  • One Ark – Charity
  • Oriel – Housing developer

Beyond Recruitment is a service offered by national social enterprise Fusion21.

Their aim is to support local communities and people in overcoming barriers to employment.

They have specialist consultants who recruit for Construction, Professional, Social Housing, Mechanical and Electrical roles across various sectors. They recruit across the spectrum from entry level positions, specialist trades, self-employed trades, administration roles, specialist, managerial and executive roles.

Beyond Recruitment are members of The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the recruitment industry. As a social enterprise and a recruitment company they work with their clients and candidates to match the right roles to the right people.  Beyond Recruitment are able to create bespoke packages for their clients and always try to ring fence a percentage of the jobs for those deemed ‘hard to reach’.

First Ark was already working with some agencies who were supplying temporary labour; however, there was a constant turnover of staff, which disrupted the business.  In addition, First Ark was training the workers upon commencement of their contracts in some industry standard areas, such as Asbestos Awareness, Working at Heights and Manual Handling.  Unfortunately, the workers were then leaving within weeks, leaving First Ark short staffed and out of pocket.

Beyond Recruitment was able to provide the staff required and the training prior to the worker starting on site therefore saving First Ark the training downtime and reduce the turnover in staff.



Beyond Recruitment

  • To provide excellent service to our clients with a view to expanding our client base
  • To engage with local qualified candidates and match them up to excellent clients with long-term opportunities
  • To progress our professional relationship and become the recruiter of choice

First Ark

  • Provide employment opportunities for local people
  • To ensure that standard of staff remain high.  That the staff are trained prior to commencement of any position within the business
  • To procure a cost-effective recruitment model
  • To build a professional relationship with an ethical organisation, who will synchronise their business with ours for the best possible results



First Ark will identify a resource requirement within the business and contact Beyond Recruitment. The terms are agreed early on; Pre-set rates are quoted, timescales are agreed, as are recruitment methods and interviewing arrangements.  For higher level of staff Beyond Recruitment will embark on a full recruitment exercise.  Beyond Recruitment pay for space on some of the best job boards in the country, they utilise their network of contacts and social media platforms to target the right candidates.

The Beyond Recruitment Consultants will source the candidates, ensure that a face to face meeting takes place in our agency.  The Consultants will shortlist a selection of candidates based on the brief provided by First Ark and send them to First Ark for approval.  Once First Ark have approved the list and selected potential candidates, the Consultants will arrange the interviews at a place and time suitable to both parties.

Following the interview, Beyond Recruitment will arrange for the successful candidate(s) to undergo training and complete the contracts.  They also provide feedback for the unsuccessful candidates.

Beyond Recruitment support the worker and the client with regular telephone calls and e-mails.  They provide the payroll function weekly and simply invoice First Ark at agreed intervals for the costs.

Beyond Recruitment not only provides staff but the training of local people so that they are qualified and trained. This provides benefits for all concerned as First Ark HR manager  Clare Tresnan  explains  “I need people who know about the jobs I’m recruiting for. We need staff trained and ready to go. We were spending three days training members of staff, for example, on a bespoke course covering working at heights, asbestos and manual handling. Beyond Recruitment took over that training so we knew the people they would subsequently provide us with were ready to go and be fully qualified.  That took a lot of risk away for us and made the candidates they sent through fit for purpose. That flexibility in our working relationship is invaluable.   Beyond Recruitment work well with our Operations team which makes things run smoother. They understand our business model and appeal to us being a social enterprise. Most of all I get value for money for my business and if that in turn helps the communities we serve then that is good business to me.”


Business Results



  • 363 local residents gained employment
  • £8 million to the local economy (using LM3)
  • £15 million savings by procuring through Fusion 21


  • Positive, visible action taken by First Ark to actively support their tenants into work where possible
  • Creating indirect social outcomes by positively supporting local programmes by supporting Fusion21


  • Reduced Carbon-Footprint by recruiting local labour



There were some issues with invoicing which took a while to sort out.  As Vivark have quite a lot of staff through Beyond Recruitment, there was a need to build relationships with all of the relevant stakeholders including HR & Finance and after a short period of teething problems the processes work well and is now embedded


Next Steps


Both organisations envisage this to be a long term partnership and predict the level of business will increase and mutually beneficial for all stakeholders.


Housing Association RECRUITMENT
Social Enterprise
Contact Details

Clare Tresnan  HR Business Partner First Ark

Darren Charles Marketing Manager Fusion 21

Contact SE Housing Hub about this Case Study

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