20 ex-offenders helped back to work since launch of Empower Project in North Lincolnshire but more businesses urged to give them a chance
MORE businesses need to give ex-offenders a chance to ensure they stay away from crime, an employment group says.
Twenty ex-offenders have been helped back in to work since the launch of the Empower Project in North Lincolnshire
Ex-offenders Luke Broughton and Alaister Mawhinney, the two men behind the scheme, say the project at Crosby Employment Bureau in Scunthorpe is a success.
But they say they need more businesses to take a leap of faith and recruit people with criminal records who are desperate to reform.
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Mr Broughton said: "We have managed to find work for 20 of our clients in about seven months with a re-offending rate of zero, which demonstrates the effectiveness of this great initiative.
"The biggest barrier that we face is the amount of employers that we can get on board.
"The main goal within this project is to address any barriers to employment, with the end result being our clients securing employment.
"These barriers to employment consist of reskilling, training, education, motivation, lack of work history, debt and substance misuse – to name just a few.
"We would like employers to reach out and start becoming socially involved. We are constantly working on links to employers to raise awareness about our work and the benefits of employing a person with a conviction."
The project has been funded by JobCentre Plus Flexible Support Fund, North Lincolnshire Safer Neighbourhoods Partnership and the Substance Misuse Team, which between them have provided £50,000 to keep the project running.
Now Empower is applying for further funding and hopes to achieve this to fund the project for the forthcoming financial year.
Mr Broughton and Mr Mawhinney are both ex-offenders themselves and both are using their experiences to try to help others find their way in to employment.
"We are aware the reservations that people will have about giving an opportunity to someone who has committed an offence, rather than someone who has conformed all their life – but it is to the benefit of everyone if offenders gain employment," said Mr Broughton.
"The offer of a job is the light at the end of the tunnel for our clients and we don't want all this mutual hard work of addressing issues, only to get to the end of this process and find there is no opportunity for them."
Mr Mawhinney said: "We want to develop that education to the public about the positive impact of ex-offenders being in work.
"Once they have been given an opportunity, they work extremely hard because they want to prove themselves."
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