Derry duo launch ‘Swift Shift’ platform to match hospitality workers and businesses

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Christopher Shiels and Paul Leonard are two entrepreneurs set on fixing the employment issues within hospitality.

They are co-founders of ‘Swift Shift’, a platform designed for job seekers to take on individual shifts without further commitment and for employers to temporarily fill roles.

They have recently won funding through the Start-up Launchpad scheme organised by Derry City and Strabane Council in partnership with the local Chamber of Commerce, Strabane BID, Hypefast NI and Ulster University.

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Speaking to Mr Shiels and Mr Leonard they told me the purpose of the start-up was to try to fill the void left in hospitality over the pandemic due to instability.

Swift Shift co-founders Christopher Shiels and Paul Leonard.Swift Shift co-founders Christopher Shiels and Paul Leonard.
Swift Shift co-founders Christopher Shiels and Paul Leonard.

Mr Shiels said: “The purpose of it was generally focused on the hospitality industry, there were lots of problems there with unemployment and people leaving the industry. There is now a large gap in the market with roles to be filled and we want to bridge that gap.”

Mr Leonard: “Well my mates always say I've got at least two jobs going at once, so the idea came around when I was scrolling through socials seeking jobs and having to fill out so many job forms, then see if those jobs fit my availability. On top of that it also removes choice making, you think ‘so if I take this I'll have to give up this time every week to this employer’. So the idea was to kill two birds with one stone: To help fill job roles for employers seeking staff to post job roles, as well as individuals looking for one off work.”

They explained that the platform is simple and easy, and told us how they're trying to reduce the need for a tailored CV through the use of reviews instead of experience.

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Mr Shiels said, “We have still got traditional means to apply through the app, by uploading your CV and adding relevant skills and experience. You also can add a profile photo for businesses to know who they are employing.

“Signing up is really easy, it takes 30 seconds and that’s you set. For businesses, it is similar and they also have the option to add multiple premises under the one account.”

Mr Leonard then added: “We tried to make it seamless for users. We also wanted to take away the need for a CV, as my own CV would be designed to fit roles like my 9-5. It is not mandatory to upload one, you can just add your previous experiences and employers can view you through that. And your reviews.

“The review tool is to help users determine the best option for either work or staff. Someone who has a really good CV but doesn't actually work that well is not automatically going to get the job over someone who’s CV might not be great but is a good worker,” he continued.

On venturing into other areas from hospitality they weren't exactly planning on it, but did not write the possibility off.

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Mr Leonard said: “Hospitality is the goal at the minute. We want people to think ‘Swift Shift’, I can go there and get a shift in a bar, restaurant, hotel and so on. Once it is proven in the hospitality industry, we may then think of venturing into other sectors. The aim of setting it up was to help with the 41% of staff who have left hospitality since the start of lockdown, so yeah it pretty much focused on sorting that and helping businesses succeed.”

Swift Shift is free of charge for workers, find out more on: