Everyone knows that after a home, finding a job is one of the most important factors for most people trying to put a life of crime behind them. But the truth is many ex-offenders lack the skills or face limited opportunities to finding work because of employers’ perceptions about taking on people with a criminal record. These barriers prevent ex-offenders from making more progress as they continue on their rehabilitation journey.
We are proud to help address these factors through targeted employment support, helping individuals we work with to turn a corner on their criminal past that has long-lasting benefits for our society.
When Richard* was in his late teens, he says he got in with the “wrong crowd” and started doing drugs. He was drinking too much and smoking cannabis. Soon he got into trouble for intent to supply drugs and the court gave him a community order. Our community rehabilitation company supervised him on this order.
Richard had few GCSEs and little work experience when he came to us. He had lots of free time but was not using it constructively, causing much strain at home, where he was on the verge of being kicked out.
On probation, we gave Richard education, training, and employment support. Our Education, Training and Employment Coach, John, helped him to get funding to complete his Construction Skills Certificate Scheme test. John also worked with Richard to prepare him for the exam, which he passed with flying colours.
Richard says the course was his turning point. It gave him a “jumpstart”, changing his focus from doing drugs to getting a job.
But despite his progress, he still struggled to find work, something made more difficult by the pandemic. He applied for over 50 jobs within a few months, but no one offered him an interview. After much perseverance and encouragement from his Coach, he secured a role with a construction company.
I was struggling to get by in life, but that’s all changed since completing the course and getting a new job. I am no longer invisible at home and can hold my head up high.
“Getting a job has made family matters a lot better too. There are fewer arguments. I am no longer sitting around smoking cannabis all day and wasting my life. I have a purpose. I wake up, go to work. Everything is normal.
“I aim to continue working in the construction industry until I find an apprenticeship as an electrician. This work has opened the door for me to begin a career.”
The work achieved has been a team effort. Richard however needs to take all the plaudits for his attitude and dedication to completing the courses and the study time that he put in. We may be able to open some doors, but Richard had to do all the hard work.
“I am incredibly proud of his achievements and know from conversations with Richard that he sees this year as being all about change, and this is just the start of his journey.”
Employment – The problem
According to government figures, almost three-quarters of prisoners remain unemployed a year after their release.
Employment provides structure in an ex-offender’s life, helping them reintegrate back into society after exiting the criminal justice system, but many of them face barriers to getting a job. The Shannon Trust reports that half of the 85,000 people in prison have a reading age of 11 or lower – with 20% falling well short of that mark.
A YouGov survey commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that half of employers automatically reject applicants with a criminal record.
At Interventions Alliance, we provide careers advice, develop skills, and create employment opportunities. Combined with our rehabilitation expertise, this enables us to deliver better outcomes for everyone.
By employing specialist recruitment advisors, including those who have previously used our services, we support people to overcome barriers to finding paid employment.
Part of Seetec, the business group has help over 145,000 people into work since 2011 and has won national recognition for supporting prisoners back into a job post-release.
* The identity of the individual has been protected for legal reasons. The photo is of a model.