Drive to find jobs for ex-offenders launches in north of England

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An organisation that helps ex-offenders find work has been contracted by the Ministry of Justice to boost employment levels among former inmates across the north of England.

More than 250 people across the north and south of Tyne, Hull and East Riding and South Yorkshire are set to be supported into jobs by recruitment specialist Offploy and the National Probation Service.

Since its launch in September, Offploy has secured employment for more than a dozen ex-offenders, including within the government’s Covid-19 testing programme.

The firm said offering more opportunities to people with convictions, who often struggle to find work because of prejudice, will help address the UK’s skills shortage and reduce offending. Some 62% of Offploy’s workforce are former offenders, including co-founder Jacob Hill.

Working alongside the National Probation Service, it will support candidates to become “work ready”, by helping with applications and interview skills and providing support ahead of their start date and when they get paid.

Acceptance to the programme is subject to a strict vetting process and candidates must complete a personal task, such as setting up a professional email address or opening a bank account, to demonstrate their willingness to find work.

Hill said: “A frequently quoted statistic is that offenders are 9% less likely to reoffend if they have a job to go to when they are released from prison. However, the requirement to disclose any unspent criminal convictions can act as a significant barrier, and drive some back into the lifestyle and habits they were previously trapped in.”

Last month the Disclosure and Barring Service removed youth warnings, reprimands and cautions from its certificates in a bit to make it easier for people with certain convictions to find work.

Lynda Marginson, regional probation director for the National Probation Service (Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The National Probation Service is delighted to be working in partnership with Offploy and investing in a future ground-breaking partnership. Offploy really understands the journey many of those supervised by probation have made – and the obstacles that can stand in their way when trying to find work.”

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