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Celebrating a milestone in employing ex-offenders

A partnership between Novus and Yorkshire Prisons Group, has placed over 200 ex-offenders in the region into work on their release from prison since the project began in October 2016.

The Across the Gate project works with local, regional and national employers to find suitable vacancies for offenders who are due to be released from prisons in the region. The team support offenders from the job search and application process through to starting work with their new employers once they have been released from prison.

Heather Dagger, Regional Director Yorkshire and Lincolnshire at Novus, said: “We know that prisoners are much less likely to commit further crimes if they are able to enter the world of work when they leave prison and it is imperative that we not only provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to gain employment, but actual job opportunities. Our partnership with the prison service is central to this and we are delighted with what the Across the Gate project has achieved in finding jobs for more than 200 ex-offenders.”

The job tally was announced at the 2018 Serving Our Community Summit, hosted by Novus and the Yorkshire Prisons Group. The event brought together representatives from prisons across the region, Local Enterprise Partnerships, local Police and Crime Commissioner offices, and employers, to discuss the importance of employment in the rehabilitation process and the value to businesses of having access to a skilled workforce. The event also looked ahead to building on the work of the Across the Gate team to continue to create employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

Guest speakers at the event included Paul Foweather, Director of the Yorkshire Prisons Group; Peter Cox, Managing Director of Novus; Steve Robson, Governor at HMP Leeds; Kishor Tailor, CEO of Humber LEP; Keith Hunter, Police and Crime Commissioner Humber; and Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner West Yorkshire. Plus representatives from Siemens, Q Hotels and Leeds Rhinos.

Speaking at the summit, Paul Foweather, Director Yorkshire Prisons Group, said: "This is a fantastic event, bringing partners and major shareholders together who are proud to make a difference reducing crime, improving businesses in servicing and making our communities safer."

Steve Robson, Governor at HMP Leeds said: “This event really shows the quality of skilled people that prisons can produce and highlights the training opportunities open to prisoners who then leave prison ready to fill the skills gaps that we have identified in the jobs market. By giving people the right skills we can directly support local businesses to fill these gaps, which in turn allows prisoners to get back on track with their lives and positively contribute to society.”

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “I am pleased to see the partnership between Yorkshire prisons and Novus getting such positive results. I commend prison and Novus staff for their work - these programmes not only transform prisoner’s lives but help to reduce reoffending and prevent future victims.”

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