Mace launch employment scheme for ex-offenders
Mace, in partnership with National Offenders Management Service (NOMS) and Crisis, has recently launched a scheme to offer employment opportunities to recently released ex-offenders, which could potentially save the Government £700,000 per annum.
An event was held at Mace’s headquarters in London (January 2017) attended by nine subcontractor companies who have already signed up to support the scheme. The scheme is led by Mace’s Business Unit Director Jonathan Foster and Janine Jasper, Mace's Senior Employment & Skills Manager.
Why do it?
The prison population in England and Wales has risen by 92% since 1993, of those released every year, 46% are re-convicted within one year of release and for those serving sentences of less than a year it’s 60%. It has since been proven that prisoners who had attended vocational training in prison are more likely to secure employment shortly after release, and employment on release reduces re-offending by up to 50%.
However, despite these positive statistics only 27% of people had a job on release from prison in 2014-2015, and only 12% of employers surveyed said that they had employed somebody with a criminal record in the past three years. One in five employers said they either did or were likely to exclude them from the recruitment process. It is this situation that the team at Mace want to address.
How does it work?
The idea of the scheme is for NOMS, Crisis and Mace to select a maximum of 20 eligible offenders soon to be released from a large number of prisons, who are being settled in London boroughs. These ex-offenders will then be required to register with Crisis in March 2017, Crisis will then provide CSCS cards and various mandatory construction training courses.
Once they have attended the courses they will then be guaranteed an interview with one of our subcontractors who have agreed to support the scheme. All candidates must be classed as homeless in order to access the service, but once they receive a job offer they will be fast tracked by Crisis into suitable accommodation.
Who is involved?
To kick start the scheme an event was held this week at 155 Moorgate, attended by the nine subcontractor companies who have already signed up to support the scheme: Horohoe Construction, AJ Morrisroe, Kilnbridge Construction Services, Measom Dry Lining, BDL Dry Lining, Imtech, Alandale, HW Catering and Mace MEP.
These companies have all agreed to guarantee at least two interviews and if successful, job offers to the relevant candidates. Speakers at the event included Mace's Jonathan Foster and Janine Jasper, Lee Johnson, Head of Employment for the London and South East region NOMS and Dulal Ahmed, Head of Employment Services for Crisis.
What happens next?
Crisis will maintain a mentoring and advocacy service with the ex-offenders for up to a year whether they are offered a job or not. The progress of those offered a job with Mace's subcontractors will be monitored on a monthly basis by Mace Employment and Skills Managers and Crisis Managers, which will be followed up with a quarterly report.
Janine Jasper, Mace Senior Employment & Skills Manager, said: “It costs £35,000 per year to keep a person in prison. If we were able to fill 20 jobs with ex-offenders then we are saving the Government £700,000 per annum. Re-offending costs the Government £13 billion a year – the scheme Mace is launching could make a significant impact to the future of ex-offenders and help minimise the stigma attached to offending.”
Jonathan Foster, Mace Business Unit Director, said: “Accessing real employment opportunities is extremely challenging for ex-offenders and statistics have shown that increasing the proportion of prisoners in employment after release is important not only for prisoners’ wellbeing but for the long-term sustainability of local communities. Mace as a company is well placed to support this initiative.”