Life hasn’t always been kind to Shaun Beever.
The 52-year-old Highfields man has faced bankruptcy, homelessness and the unpredictability of agency work.
He has slept rough in bus shelters and on park benches – and even walked to Leeds and back on freezing cold nights just to stay warm.
Now he’s been hailed as a model employee after landing a permanent job with a Huddersfield manufacturing firm.
James Sutherland, managing director of Deighton-based Dortech Architectural Systems, found the ideal candidate in Shaun when he advertised for a store person to work in the company’s newly-formed online retail operation, Dortech Direct.
Said James: “We interviewed a number of people for the role. Shaun was long-term unemployed and had been bankrupt, but he was a very genuine person. I saw a light in his eyes. He really wanted to work. We gave him the job – and he started out with an empty store room.
“During his induction, we found out that Shaun had been homeless as well.”
Shaun, who is originally from Sheffield, told how he came to Huddersfield to live with a woman friend – but was made homeless and broke when the relationship ended.
“I was homeless for a few months, alternating with staying in a homeless hostel,” he said. “I hated it. I’d sleep rough in Greenhead Park or in bus shelters and a number of times I’d walk to Leeds and back in the night just to keep warm.”
Shaun managed to get agency work – taking a series of temporary jobs as a driver or warehouseman, but took his chance to impress during his interview at Dortech at its premises in Fieldhouse Business Park, off Leeds Road.
“When you have a job interview, you have to answer the questions fully and come across with the right attitude,” he said. “First impressions are important.”
Shaun now rents a home from a housing association and says he enjoys working for Dortech Direct and the security of full-time employment.
He adds: “There are guys sleeping on the streets now who I knew when I was sleeping rough. I try to talk to them about changing things. You can’t just give in.”
Shaun’s experiences have proved inspiring with other business people after James posted Shaun’s story on LinkedIn. So far, it has received almost 47,000 likes and attracted more than 3,000 positive comments.
James said: “Shaun has organised everything incredibly well and takes great pride in his work. He gets on with everyone and now manages over 1,000 online orders a month. He’s responsible for customer service, dispatch of goods and stock management.
“He is also managing a move into a bigger facility and interviewed and appointed his first ‘employee’ who was also unemployed. Shaun’s circumstances have changed from very challenging to very successful.”
Said James: “It’s testimony to Shaun’s hard work and ambition. He’s a good guy and adds a lot of value to the company.
“It’s so easy to read someone’s CV and focus only on the qualifications and work history. This has taught me a very valuable lesson. It’s not the CV that matters – it’s whether someone has the right attitude and wants to succeed.”