National Employability Day 2018 by Peter Cox, Managing Director, Novus

Research released by City & Guilds and Emsi this month revealed that nine out of 10 employers are struggling to recruit the skilled staff they need. As we head towards a change in the labour market following our departure from the EU, there is a growing concern among businesses that this is only likely to get worse.

As Kirstie Donnelly, Managing Director of City & Guilds, said: “The UK is facing a skills gaps crisis which, if goes unaddressed, could have a disastrous impact on UK businesses’ ability to compete on a global scale post-Brexit.”

Each year, in England and Wales, approximately 66,000 ex-offenders will return to society after their sentence. This is an untapped labour market that could offer a genuine solution to employers looking to plug their skills gap.

In prisons, right now, employer partnerships are taking place. Organisations like Novus, and the prisons themselves, are working with employers to create pathways for offenders to develop the skills employers are looking for, so that on release employers have a candidate ready to join their business.

Employers may believe that ex-offenders lack soft skills, such as honesty or reliability, but these perceptions are challenged by employers’ actual experience. Don’t take my word for it; ask other employers.

•           86% of employers record positive experiences with ex-offenders

•           86% say offenders settle into work well with colleagues

•           82% say offenders perform well

The prospect of being able to move into employment on release is incredibly motivating for an offender and begins to create a sense of loyalty towards an employer. Giving someone a second chance at this point in their life will be paid back ten-fold in hard work, reliability and commitment. This process also brings diversity into the workplace and enables other employees to see their company live its own values. It can be an incredibly positive experience for all involved.

With the average cost of recruiting and training a new employee estimated at £5,000, imagine if as an employer you could have access to a pipeline of potential employees who have been trained in the skills that you are looking for to support your business.

On 29 June, to celebrate National Employability, Novus are hosting a conference in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, in the North West to demonstrate the value of recruiting ex-offenders. Our speakers will offer advice and showcase success stories. If you are an employer and would like to find out more, you’re welcome to join us at our event 

 

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