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Employers sign up to offer a Fresh Start to ex-offenders who are due for release from HMP Berwyn

Tim Balcon the CEO of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), has written to construction employers to invite them to take part in a pilot, which will not only offer a job opportunity to an ex-offender but help employers fill their skills gap.

Tim said: “I am very pleased to be working with a group of like-minded people from various organisations in the north west and north Wales.

“We have come together in an attempt to address the skills issue and assist individuals who are looking for an opportunity for a fresh start.

“We hope this pilot will act as a role model for partnerships between employers, CITB, training providers and other prisons nationally going forward.”

J Murphy & Sons Ltd, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, (HMPPS) employment specialists, New Futures Network, HMP Berwyn, the CITB-funded Onsite Experience Hub managed by Procure Plus and CITB are looking for a group of willing construction companies who can come together and offer opportunities to prisoners who will be released in the coming months.

Employers are being asked to offer real job opportunities for prison leavers, using the hub to fill their vacancies.

The required basic construction skills training will be completed while still at HMP Berwyn, and augmented with a site-based work placement.

The employer will sponsor / mentor one of the applicants while they are undertaking their training. Induction with the firms will take place in custody in preparation for release when they will complete a mandatory work experience placement or direct employment.

Interested employers have been invited to attend a ‘Fresh Start’ awareness event on 5th April to see the prison facilities and hear success stories from one of the partners in the initiative, J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

J Murphy & Sons Limited has already formed a successful partnership with HMP Berwyn and engaged with prison leavers for a long period of time.

John Murphy, CEO, said: “I am pleased to chair the Berwyn Employment Advisory Board, and with the tangible progress we are already making at HMP Berwyn. Thank you to the CITB and other partners for their support.

“I would like to encourage all regional employers to consider ex-offenders as a valuable employment stream and a potential driver of their economic growth. Our programme shifts the focus onto upskilling offenders while they are still in the prison system, ensuring they are ready to move straight into stable work when released. Interested employers should attend our event on 5 April to find out more.”

There has already been a good response and following the employers event in April there will be a “Meet the employer” session in May for prisoners due for release who would like to take part in the scheme. Employers will have the opportunity to meet the candidates, to explore their skills set and identify available experience or employment opportunities. Prior to their release, the prisoners will complete a company induction to ensure they are ready to start work once released.

This is a pilot for HMP Berwyn with plans to roll out the model to other prisons in the near future.