On Tuesday 16 July we presented the Infrastructure Employment Forum to tier 1 contractors and their supply chain.
They are keen to come together to support ex-offenders into sustainable employment. Attendees included representatives from HS2, Keltbray and Thames Tideway.
At our presentation we talked about the IEF and what we want to achieve, encouraging others to sign up and support us.
Loretta Albertini, regional manager of the Shaw Trust, talked about the training support they provide, and how their case workers support service users while they are still serving.
Dara McCarthy, RMF Construction national business development manager, told us about RMF’s programme hiring ex-offenders. He explained how they work, and shared inspiring success stories.
We heard from Fran Findlater, CEO of Bounce Back, one of the IEF founding members, who support the IEF with delivering employment programmes. The Ministry of Justice is now supporting us in the different regions, and we also heard from the Emma Wagstaff, MoJ UK lead in construction.
About the IEF
The IEF was set up in December 2018 between VGC Group, Costain, CSJV and Bounce Back.
A number of us run our own programmes supporting ex-offenders, and found we were attending the same prisons at the same events with exactly the same ethos. We had the idea of coming together as one collaborative unit, to attend these events with lots of roles between us, in order to support as many people as we can.
We brain-stormed what we wanted to achieve, and discussed the pitfalls we have already faced working on our own programmes. Then we decided to bring in other organisations to help those needing further support eg housing support, benefits, training and education, and help with interview clothing.
Now we have the DWP, Dress for Success and also a number of labour suppliers joining the IEF.
The IEF is more than just supporting ex-offenders into employment because your project has targets. It is more than just a tick box. This is creating a new future for an under-represented group. It’s about reducing re-offending for the communities around us. It’s supporting those who would not have been given a chance. We’re helping them get into sustainable employment, and enabling them to carve a career and a different path for themselves.
Currently we are now working on commitments for our members to sign up to. We look forward to creating better futures.