Go beyond the gates ex-offender programme
‘Go beyond the gates’ is our programme to support ex-offenders into sustainable employment, helping them to live independently.
Reoffending costs the UK economy £15 billion a year. Ex-offenders who find jobs are much less likely to reoffend. By October 2019, VGC was employing 20 ex-offenders on our sites, one of whom have now been promoted.
A disproportionately high percentage of people in prison have learning difficulties or mental health issues. It is often hard for them to find work and enjoy the benefits of a sustainable career on release. Outdoor activity offers an attractive alternative to office work for some ex-offenders.
Finding work for ex-offenders near to release helps break the cycle of unemployment, homelessness and re-offending.
The need to employ a local workforce on major projects across the country is a considerable challenge for the industry. This initiative – part of our corporate social responsibility strategy – helps us to support some of the most vulnerable people in society and benefits everyone.
By providing opportunities for employment in a structured outdoors environment, we help the construction industry to tap into a huge labour resource.
We visit and support 19 prisons across England. During 2020, the programme continued online.
Between March 2018, when the programme started, and July 2020, we
- supported nearly 1,400 offencers
- interviewed 168 people for roles
- placed 34 ex-offenders into employment.
Go beyond the gates candidates to date have a 0% reoffending rate.
In July 2021 Go Beyond the Gates won an Inspire award for Most Inspiring Employment Initiative.
We were also highly commended in the British Construction Industry awards in October 2021.
The judges said: “The commercial and social benefits of this superb initiative were clearly and ably demonstrated. Of note was the zero-re-offending statistic which is testimony to the careful initiation and quality management of the scheme. This is world-class and needs support throughout the construction industry and beyond.”
In November 2020, we won the prestigious Construction News Diversity and Inclusion Excellence award.
Earlier the same week, we won a Balfour Beatty Highways social value award, for achieving the best social value outcomes on projects.
Also in November, we were highly commended in the CN Specialists awards, in the Community Engagement category.
In 2019, we were highly commended in the Institute of Recruitment Professionals awards for Corporate and Social Responsibility Practitioners of the Year.
Our work with fellow labour supplier Danny Sullivan Group to support ex-offenders into roles on HS2 won a collaboration award from Costain Skanska JV. CSJV head of legacy Louise Dailly presented the collaboration award at the HS2 enabling works supply chain forum on 14 May 2019.
We have signed up to Ban the Box.
Ban the Box is led by the charity Business in the Community (BITC). The campaign calls on employers to create a fair opportunity for people with convictions to compete for jobs.
We ban the ‘any unspent convictions’ box from the initial stages of our recruitment processes. Sometimes our clients need us to ask about unspent criminal convictions, for example when working in high security environments or with vulnerable people. In these cases, once we have identified good candidates, then we will ask about unspent criminal convictions, in a sensitive and supportive way.
Without a job, it is very hard for ex-offenders not to return to crime. Employing ex-offenders helps us by giving access to a more diverse talent pool, and giving people a second chance helps to reduce reoffending.