Simon Beckman

Organisation: Unilever

Years of secondment: 2020 – 2022

Role before secondment: Global IT Business Partner

Role after secondment: Head of Partnerships

Why did you opt for a secondment at Movement to Work?

The chance to go to work and do a job with a purpose, making a real difference. The chance to work with truly amazing people and the chance to make a genuine impact on the lives of young people who just needed someone to believe in them and give them a chance.

What was the best thing about your secondment?

Two things, in equal measure. Firstly, being able to see the positive, real-world impact our hard work elicited for young people who needed to be given a chance. Secondly, working with the most wonderfully kind, supportive, talented, diverse and like-minded people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

What were some of the key learnings you took away personally and professionally following your secondment?

For me it opened my eyes to the fact that everyone can be someone. Young people can and will flourish if they are given a chance to prove themselves and have people believe in them.

I learnt that there are so many more barriers and inequalities set up to stop young people from succeeding than we think exist; that we are led to believe through mainstream media. Sometimes there is a choice to be made between travelling to look for a job or using that money to eat. I learnt that whilst the answers and aren’t easy to find, when everyone works together and puts others first, then a solution is achievable.

Personally, I learnt that I am happiest when I am helping other people less fortunate than I am, through no fault of their own, I also realised, thanks to the support of my MtW colleagues, to believe in myself and what I have to offer.

Most importantly, I learnt that there are more good people than not in the world and they are appreciated by those to whom they offer their friendship and support.

Why should employers consider seconding team members to Movement to Work?

Doing so will give employers an employee who has grown and developed a more diverse and adaptable way of working, with renewed energy and new ideas. It exposes the secondee to new ways of working and new approaches that they can bring back to their host organisation. Importantly, it also instils a sense of value and confidence in the secondee and helps them understand their transferable skill set and how they can contribute more fully to their host organisation.

If you could sum up the purpose and mission of Movement to Work in your own words and what it means to you, what would you say?

Movement to Work’s purpose is to help remove the barriers to employment for young people suffering any form of disadvantage, be that educational, financial, or the fact they are from a diverse or minority background. They work to level the playing field and give everyone a fair crack of the whip. It’s about inclusion and the same chance being afforded to everyone; simple as that.

Movement to Work means so much to me, even more so as my own children leave education and I see their own struggles. 

Young people facing barriers to work simply need a single chance and someone to believe in them to achieve great things.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If anyone or any organisation is considering becoming involved with or supporting Movement to Work, don’t think – just do. Their social impact is beyond measure and provides real-world action to the passivity so often seen after we utter the phrase, “there but for the grace of God go I”.