ESS Recruits First Colleague Through Change Please

05 December 2023

ESS Government Services has collaborated with Change Please to recruit barista Joao into its DWP contract in central London.

Change Please blends social enterprise with coffee expertise, with profits from its award-winning coffee going into giving people experiencing homelessness housing, training and support into employment. 

Working with Change Please, ESS has recruited Joao who, 18 months ago, was experiencing a difficult period in his life: “I was homeless and sleeping on friends’ floors after losing my passport with no job or job prospects” explains the 47-year-old, who is ESS’ first employee recruited via Change Please.

“I was really down, depressed at my situation. Now my confidence is back and I’m helping people every single day – it’s helped me become a complete person again.

“And, after living in the UK for 23 years, I’ve now also found accommodation in East Croydon. I’m now the face of Change Please at Caxton House and I couldn’t be happier.”

ESS is planning to recruit more Change Please graduates into the business to maximise the social value delivered by the organisation.

Lee Cartwright, Regional Manager for ESS, commented:

“It’s brilliant that Joao has joined the team. We weren’t expecting that Change Please would be able to find someone so quickly, but we interviewed three people who have been trained by its academy programme.

“This programme helps participants by giving them a mentor to support them and take the pressure off so they can focus on learning new skills and gaining employment.

“Every cup that Change Please brews and every cup people buy helps change someone’s life for the better.”

Nicola Smythe, DWP Strategic Alignment and Business Oversight team, commented:  

“It’s great to see DWP understand the social value it can bring to its buildings. The coffee is great, Joao is a great barista, and every drop is helping someone in a really significant way.”

Ronnie Kelman, Managing Director for ESS Energy, Government & Infrastructure, added:

“Through our Social Value Promise, Compass Group UK & Ireland has made a commitment to positively impact a million lives by 2030. Working with Change Please is a great opportunity for us to support people who’ve experienced difficult times into employment. I wish Joao all the best in his career with us and hope that we can work with many more Change Please candidates in the future.”