Covid forces Coventry company to pivot to help more people find employment

Pictured (left to right): Gavin Barnett (CWLEP Growth Hub), Dave O’Neill, John Ahearne, Nick Goodwin, Josh Salvin, Richard Shortland (all TalentTech), Penny Robb (University of Warwick Science Park)


The Covid-19 crisis forced a Coventry-based start-up recruitment business to pivot – but now the owners believe it could be the route to future success for them and those who need support in finding employment.

TalentTech Recruitment was established in May 2019 and moved into offices at University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Innovation Centre in Binley following help from the CWLEP Growth Hub. By March 2020, the company was all set to complete development of a new automated recruitment software.

But the global pandemic forced John Ahearne and Nick Goodwin to shelve that idea and as their clients started to deal with the economic effects of the crisis, the company found it was being asked by existing clients to support people who were being made redundant.

TalentTech Recruitment’s ‘outplacement’ work included a range of training to support individuals who might have to look for new employment, from writing a CV through to interview techniques.

That work proved to be so successful that the company is now developing a platform called MPLOYABILITY to help individuals make themselves more employable – from schoolchildren through to those who have lost their jobs after being in employment for many years.

The company has been supported by the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Ready programme and has been receiving help from Dirk Schafer, a business adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park.

John said: “Our core business is recruitment, particularly in the technology, engineering and software sectors. That side was growing and we were looking at a new software platform but then Covid came along and everything changed.

“Rather than looking to recruit, many of our clients were having to go through the painful process of redundancy. They didn’t want to just part with their employees without any support so they came to us to see if there was any help we could offer.

“We created a programme to help those individuals as they began the process of looking for new employment and the clients were very pleased with the support we were able to offer.

“We realised that what we were doing was an extremely beneficial service and saw we could build this into a platform that anyone could use.”

Nick added: “If you are someone who has worked for 30 years and suddenly find yourself losing your job, it’s unlikely that you will have engaged with the digital job market and probably wouldn’t know where to start. Our MPLOYABILITY platform will support them.

“Equally, pupils in secondary school and sixth forms don’t realise there are things that they can be doing now to make themselves more employable in the future – whether it’s volunteering or taking a part-time job. We are tailoring our platform to be gamified for that age range, which will eventually be turned into an app, to support their needs too.

“We’ve already had positive conversations with a local school who really like the idea and we are now working with developers to get it off the ground.”

As well as supporting others, the company has grown its own headcount and is set to move offices within the Business Innovation Centre later this year.

TalentTech moved in as part of the Science Park’s Ignite service, which offers flexible space to help companies to lay the foundations for growth.

Nick said: “We had a conversation with Gavin Barnett at the CWLEP Growth Hub and he has been a tremendous support to us. He introduced us to the University of Warwick Science Park and the team here have been equally supportive.

“There has been a lot of uncertainty for businesses during the pandemic and the Science Park have really helped us during this time and extended our time in the Ignite space to give us some breathing space at the height of the crisis.

“That help means we are now looking forward to growing and helping others find employment.”

Penny Robb, manager of the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Innovation Centre, said: “The crisis has affected businesses in many different ways but it is great to see that TalentTech has pivoted to see an opportunity to support business and individuals in the future.

“They have benefitted from the support on offer here at the University of Warwick Science Park. They are set to grow within the Business Innovation Centre later this year, which is very positive news.”

For more information on the MPLOYABILITY platform, can be found at or call or call 01926 505555.