ONE minority group has been left behind in the drive for employment equality – ex-prisoners.
A disappointing 83 per cent of former inmates remain jobless a year after release.
And one of the hardest-to-help groups is women ex-prisoners. Despite making up under five per cent of the jail population, they are more likely than men to reoffend.
Three in five are also victims of domestic violence and need extra support to find work and reset their lives.
So now a new raft of schemes is helping women go straight. Working Chance is the UK’s only recruitment consultancy for women leaving the criminal justice system. So far it has helped to get 1,700 women into work, in sectors such as hospitality, leisure, retail and health.
Candidates involved with Working Chance have a four per cent reoffending rate, compared with 58 per cent for all ex-offenders and the scheme is being backed by the Government.
Where to get help
Halfords Drake Hall workshop has a 100 per cent success rate placing women prisoners into jobs. See halfordscompany.com/corporate-responsibility/colleagues.
Working Chance’s Emma Freivogel said: “With a skills shortage across the UK, it makes sense for businesses to cast their search and selection nets wide enough to include the women we represent.”
London accountancy firm Delta Gale hires through Working Chance and director Victoria Harfield said: “I have found enthusiastic and dedicated candidates, who really appreciate the opportunity given — which I don’t always see when employing candidates who have had a standard school-university-graduate job background.
“So many people struggle to get work, and in a lot of cases their conviction has nothing to do with their ability to do the role in question.
“If someone wants to get out there, make something of themselves and have a positive impact on society, then as employers we should be giving them the opportunity.”
‘If it wasn’t for Working Chance, I’d still be claiming benefits’
AS A 17-year-old, Shakira Lawrence served a custodial sentence at the Medway Young Offenders unit in Kent.
Now 19, she has landed an apprenticeship as an assistant accountant at Delta Gale through Working Chance.
Shakira, from London, said: “If it wasn’t for Working Chance, I’d probably be sitting at home watching TV and still claiming benefits.
“With the help of Working Chance, I was able to use my qualifications and experience to once again be a productive member of society.
“The team helped me to get work-ready, helping me discover what I’m good at, updating my CV and doing mock interviews. The best thing about my job now is being able to learn and grow with an open-minded employer. It’s important to realise that any one of us could be in a situation that led to a conviction. Not all convicts are thugs.
“So I’m asking employers, if you don’t give ex-prisoners a chance, then who will?
“Don’t let the criminal system become their family and prison a routine. Schemes like Working Chance are the step that breaks that cycle.”
Fashion chain MANGO has 46 jobs including store managers and retail staff. Find your role at https://mango-emea.jobs.net/en-GB/
Net a graduate job
FINDING a graduate job is easy PC with the new Prospects virtual careers fairs.
The graduate specialist is launching a series of online events to match employers with grads and students. The first takes place at prospects.ac.uk from noon to 3pm on Wednesday. The fairs feature on-demand video booths and web seminars, alongside live question and answer sessions and chat tools.
Sarah Brookes, marketing director at Prospects, said: “June is a key time for students unsure about what they want to do after graduation. We expect a lot of interest as they try to make sense of the opportunities available.”
Frankie to rescue
STAFF left jobless by the collapse of Jamie’s Italian chain are being given pukka opportunities by rival restaurant Frankie & Benny’s.
The diner is offering guaranteed interviews for all 1,000 former staff from the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group.
Email CVs to email@example.com putting “Jobs for Jamie” in the subject line. And jobs app JobToday is hosting free one-to-one employment advice sessions for former Jamie’s workers.
The sessions take place on Friday at JobToday HQ, 7 Harp Lane, Bakers Hall, EC3R 6DP between 10am to noon and then 2pm to 6pm.
Find out more at jobtoday.com/yournextjob.
FALCO CONSTRUCTION is hiring utilities teams for work nationwide. To apply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six steps to ace meetings
MOST of us spend one day each week in meetings or preparing for them.
So here are some top hacks on how to make them work for you, from Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, leadership experts and co-authors of The Leader’s Guide To Impact.
- TO BE – TO DO: Before your meeting, think about how you want “to be” in it not just what you want “to do”. Ask yourself: What impact do I want to have? Spend time preparing your impact in advance.
- HAVE YOUR RADAR OUT: Look around you to see what impact you are having on others. How do you make people feel and react? Then you can change your approach if you need a different result.
- BE A KEEN OBSERVER: Observe without demonstrating any judgment, just aim to understand what is going on around you. Then you become better at working out how people react to you.
- CONTROL YOUR REACTIONS: Practise impulse control. Think carefully about what you say and how you behave. The way you behave has a big impact.
- ASK QUESTIONS: You don’t have to have all the answers. Better questions lead to better answers.
- SHARE OPENLY: If you share information with others, they will share with you and you will all gain more. You never know, you might end up having more fun at work too.