M4 worker anonymousBalfour Beatty Vinci is working with VGC on the Go Beyond the Gates programme to support ex-offenders into sustainable employment.

BBV is working on the M4 Smart motorway upgrade on behalf of Highways England. The JV wants to benefit the communities near the motorway project, and aims to maximise social value wherever possible.

A BBV spokesperson said: “VGC Group’s Go Beyond the Gates programme is an excellent example of how social value helps strengthen communities and livelihoods. It helps support ex-offenders into sustainable employment, and helps break the cycle of unemployment, homelessness and re-offending.

“Reoffending costs the UK economy £15 billion a year, and so by bettering the livelihoods of individuals, we can also support the UK economy… resulting in genuine social value.”

Statements from people who have benefitted from the Go Beyond the Gates programme:

Person A testimonial:

“Getting a CSCS card whilst I was in prison is one of the best things I had ever done, although I didn’t realise it at the time how much just one course would change my life.

“I came out of prison on a Monday and by Wednesday had a start on my first ever motorway job. I worked as a labourer for the first three months learning as much as I could, and an opening came up with one of the earthworks sub-contractors, I had helped them out a few times in the past as a spare pair of hands and they offered me the position straight away.

“It’s been two years since I started that job as a labourer and I’m now a supervisor on a smart motorway project. I can honestly say I’ve achieved more than I ever had before being in prison, I’ve got a nice car and in the process of buying a house with my family. James Andrews, VGC, and the senior management on the job I’m working on have been nothing but supportive the whole time.

“Everything’s worked out far better than I could have ever imagined: not bad for signing onto a course just to get me out of the cell.

It changed my life for the better and I’d suggest it to anyone who feels like they don’t have any options because VGC will always give you a chance no matter what your circumstances are. If you’re willing to work and learn they will back you 100% of the way.

Person B testimonial:

“Three months before my release date Kimberley McGinty from VGC Group approached me from a careers event that took place. We spoke about my experience and qualifications and about an opportunity to work on the M4 SMP. I took her number down and upon my release I contacted her, and she put me in touch with James Andrews and I started on the project as a plant vehicle marshal.

“This opportunity has changed my life and allowed me to put the past behind me and concentrate on my future, I just want to thank Kim, James and VGC for allowing me to move on in my life and supporting me throughout the process.

“I have been promoted on the project to ground worker and have learned many new skills to further develop my career.”