A unique UK charity, Astriid, is celebrating an impressive award shortlisting less than two years since its launch.

The charity, which helps those with long term health conditions find meaningful employment and volunteering opportunities, has been shortlisted for the Charity Times Best Use of Technology Award, alongside charity giants such as Macmillan and the RNLI.

The shortlisting was announced thanks to the charity’s one of a kind technology – an online job matchmaking service that connects its highly skilled members with businesses seeking talented volunteers or employees.

The platform’s concept was inspired by the experiences of the late David Shutts OBE, who together with Simon Short, Executive VP at global CRM software giant, Salesforce, created the ground-breaking technology with a simple, yet innovative proposition – jobseekers describe their skills, how, and when they can work; employers list their available work; and Astriid connects them. Also key to the development of the platform were tech companies Cognizant and 4C.

David was inspired to create the platform following an advanced kidney cancer diagnosis in 2015. Forced to give up his responsibilities as regional director for a national business organisation to undergo treatment, David became aware of the true value of work. He said: “I’m a pretty confident person – I had a hectic social life, deadlines to meet and a family to care for but suddenly I stopped being all of those things and became David Shutts, cancer patient. I realised how much work offers in terms of self-worth, self-esteem and social interaction and that millions of others must feel the same; missing the normality, challenges and rewards that only work can bring – much more than financial reward.”

Coining the term ‘invisible talent pool’ – referring to the community of highly-skilled people with long-term illness who have dipped under the employment radar, David sought to help others in his situation and saw an opportunity to tackle the UK skills crisis.

Recognised as a registered charity in January 2018, the charity shines a light on a significant community of 7million people who have dipped under the employment radar, yet have the potential to bridge the UK’s skills gap. Through Astriid’s first-of-its-kind technology, businesses can benefit from an inclusive, diverse and talented workforce while candidates can once again feel accepted in everyday life, with the routine, challenges and rewards work brings.

To date, 1,731 candidates have matched to positions with 20 people placed into work – surpassing David’s vision, with the innovative technology having been widely recognised, garnering support from the CBI, the UK’s premier business organisation, and the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor, Jimmy Mcloughlin, among others.

Steve Shutts, brother of David Shutts and Chairman at Astriid said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award, and to be placed in the same category as such high-profile charities. It is a testament to David’s hard work and to all the people involved in the cause. Our dedicated network of volunteers, brand ambassadors, industry connections and partnerships, have helped a humble idea achieve unprecedented success.”

For further information on Astriid, to sign up as a partner, become a member, advertise a position or donate, visit: www.astriid.org.uk/. To stay updated on social media, join the conversation using #InvisibleTalentPool via FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

The Charity Times Awards take place on 4 October 2019, at Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London.

About Astriid:

Astriid (Available Skills for Training, Refreshing, Improvement, Innovation and Development) is a unique UK charity with the mission to provide meaningful work for people with long-term health problems and their carers.

Founded by David Shutts OBE the charity’s online matchmaking services allows businesses to tap into the ‘invisible talent pool’ – highly-skilled people affected by chronic illness, who have dipped under the employment radar with the potential to bridge the UK skills gap. For a long time, this community of people has been invisible to employers, and employers invisible to them. Astriid aims to make the invisible visible.

Astriid became a registered charity in January 2018. Registered Charity No.  1176645. 

For more information, to register or donate, visit www.astriid.org.uk

More about David Shutts OBE:

Beginning his career as a Ministry of Defence apprentice before joining the Royal Navy in 1985, David Shutts OBE climbed the ranks culminating with a promotion to Commander in 2004. As a senior naval officer at the helm of the fleet’s most technologically-advanced warship at the time, David was awarded an OBE for leadership. At 45, he took a new challenge as vice president of global sales for a maritime logistics company, before moving into the role of regional director at a business organisation in 2014.

A year later, 10 days after turning 50, David’s life changed direction with a diagnosis of inoperable stage four advanced renal cancer – an experience that made him aware of how much work offers in terms of self-worth, self-esteem and interaction – much more than financial reward. 

David realised millions of others must feel like himself – cast aside because of a diagnosis, yet with valuable skills to share. His treatment and experience provided the inspiration to help people with long-term health issues find meaningful employment, while offering businesses the chance to benefit from their unique experiences. David continued to campaign for the ‘invisible talent pool’ until he died in May 2018.