VGC signs up to Ban the Box

VGC signs up to Ban the Box

We have signed up to the Ban the Box campaign, as part of VGC’s commitment to give ex-offenders a second chance.

Ban the Box is a national campaign to create a fair chance for ex-offenders.

It asks employers to remove the tick box from job application forms asking about unspent criminal convictions. They publicly commit to considering applicants’ skills, experience and ability to do the job, before asking about criminal convictions

Ciara Pryce, group services director, said: “We are delighted join the Ban the Box campaign, because it clearly mirrors our own work, and our ‘go beyond the gates’ programme.

“Go beyond the gates is part of VGC’s corporate social responsibility strategy and helps us to support some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“By providing opportunities for employment in a structured outdoor environment we help the construction industry to tap into a huge labour resource. And diverting someone away from re-offending means they becomes a tax payer rather than a recipient of tax spending.

“At VGC, we celebrate diversity across the workforce, recognising and encouraging talent and hard work. We refuse to tolerate prejudicial barriers to enrolment and promotion.”

Joining Ban the Box reaffirms our commitment to help ex-offenders through our ‘go beyond the gates’ programme.

Go beyond the gates helps people break the cycle of unemployment, homelessness and reoffending.

The programme, led by skills and employment adviser Kimberley McGinty, provides mentoring, mock interviews, careers guidance and employability workshops within prisons. We also liaise with clients to identify appropriate roles for offenders as they approach their release date.

Go beyond the gates started in March 2018. At the close of 2018, VGC worked with Costain to set up a new working group, the Infrastructure Employment Forum (IEF), which aims to create more opportunities for ex-offenders.

Ban the Box visit to Brixton prison
IEF members attended a Ban the Box event at Brixton prison in May 2019

VGC has also linked up with charities and social enterprise partners including Shaw Trust, Bounce Back, Key4Life, Mind the Gap and A Fairer Chance to understand the issues facing deprived communities.

By September 2019 five volunteers had visited 15 prisons and supported 704 offenders. They had interviewed 165 people (including mock-interviews) and placed 17 ex-offenders into jobs on sites across the UK.

Ban the Box was created by Business in the Community – an organisation that helps build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart. As a supporter of Ban the Box, VGC now also joins more than 120 employers across the country which have pledged their support.