Ex-offenders recruited to help tackle UK truck driver shortage Business News

When Robert left Brixton Prison earlier this year, he faced a daunting prospect. It has always been difficult for ex-offenders in the UK to find good quality work. With millions on leave and the country coming out of its deepest recession in a century, things could have been bleak.

But he now hopes to do his part to help solve a worsening labor shortage in the UK that has left McDonalds running out of milkshakes, Wetherspoons struggling to stock up on beer and Nando running out of beer. chicken.

Robert is one of a growing number of ex-offenders being supported in high-demand jobs such as driving trucks. Charities supporting the rehabilitation of inmates and ex-offenders report an “exponential” increase in inquiries this year.

They hope this trend will provide a double benefit: alleviating a labor shortage and helping to prevent ex-offenders from returning to crime.

For years, “tough on crime” rhetoric combined with drastic cuts to public services have led to underinvestment in the rehabilitation of offenders. The approach has been counterproductive, leaving the UK with a large prison population and a stubbornly high recidivism rate.

Bounce Back, a charity that aims to help ex-offenders find work, helped organize Robert’s heavy-duty training in cooperation with builders dealer Lawsons. “They really supported me,” he says. “It’s nice to know that you have someone to help you. “

Robert’s heavyweight qualification will be in addition to a construction course he took while serving his sentence.

Transport companies, builders, retailers and food producers are among those who have struggled to find enough workers, after 1.3 million foreign nationals are said to have left since the start of last year.

Some companies, including Tesco, Waitrose and John Lewis, have raised wages or offered bonuses, but in parts of the country that are already close to full employment, that is simply not enough. Employers are increasingly turning to workers they may have avoided before.

Last month, the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers called for more prisoners to be released on temporary licenses so they can work in the industry. And Scotland Food and Drink says it would like the rules to be changed so that asylum seekers are allowed to work while their claims are processed.

Natasha Finlayson, chief executive of Working Chance, a charity that helps women find work after leaving prison, has seen the number of inquiries increase tenfold in recent months.

Employers from a wide range of industries have been in contact, including many of those reporting shortages such as restaurants, caterers, hotels, retail and theaters, as well as construction companies and road maintenance.

“Honestly, I cannot overestimate how different the employment landscape is right now due to the labor shortages caused by Brexit and the pandemic,” Finlayson said.

“Many construction companies have contacted us. We have seen a much greater openness to hiring women and ex-offenders in construction.

“This is very good news for us. I understand that labor shortages are difficult from an employers’ point of view, but if it ushers in an era of greater willingness to have other talent pools and recruitment methods, this is very good news.

“This means we don’t have to knock on their doors and say ‘please, please let us persuade you of the benefits of various hiring practices.”

Charities like Working Chance hope the worker shortage will help change perceptions of employers, many of whom believe the risk of hiring an ex-offender is much higher than it actually is.

Only 1% of women who find work thanks to Working Chance reoffend. “It is extremely unlikely that you will pick on someone who reoffends or who poses a risk to your colleagues or to the company.”

Numerous studies show that ex-offenders are often more engaged and loyal employees. “Having this chance to prove yourself and change your life is incredibly important.”

Finding a good quality job is also one of the best ways to prevent reoffending, but many ex-prisoners struggle to find a job.

Having an income, purpose, life structure and daily routine has been shown to help ensure that people who have committed crimes in the past avoid doing so in the future.

“What is really important is to feel that you are giving something back to the company and that you are useful and valued,” says Finlayson.

“It starts to change your perception of who you are and your self-esteem, because for many women with criminal records their self-esteem is incredibly low. There is a very high rate of abuse, neglect and domestic violence in childhood. “

A woman Working Chance helped, Moshoodat, thought her conviction for subletting her low-rent housing would end her career in finance. But after the charity helped her with training, interview coaching and …

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This notice was published: 2021-09-05 11:27:09

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