Employability Day and Novus Works
Employability Day 2022 is finally here and we’re proud to be raising awareness of the work that our colleagues do to support our learners into employment post-release. This year’s theme is “We Fill Vacancies”, and we thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our successes from the past year.
We seek to place our learners in to meaningful and fulfilling employment after their release through our Novus Works team who find employers to take our Novus learners on. By offering an employment service, we can make sure that our education offering is constantly developing to match the demands of the workplace, ensuring that our learners are motivated to commit to gaining skills while in prison – knowing it will likely lead to meaningful employment.
The benefits of working with prison leavers
Helping ex-offenders into employment has a significant and lasting impact on both the level of crime and the cost to society, by reducing reoffending and the associated £18bn cost per-year to the taxpayer.
Each year, in England and Wales, approximately 66,000 ex-offenders will return to society after their sentence. At least three-quarters of them will be unemployed and almost two-thirds will reoffend within two years – costing the justice system an average of £65,000 per re-offender. Imagine being able to make a positive impact on those figures.
We know that most employers want to do the right thing – for their business, their customers and for their employees. They also have the chance to do the right thing for society and for their own community; they can open their doors to an ex-offender.
By partnering with Novus, employers can ensure that the training standards of incoming staff are leading the industry. With the average cost of recruiting and training a new employee estimated at £5,000, we can help to reduce this by creating a direct recruitment chain that benefits everyone – employers, offenders, and the community.
How can businesses get involved in prison education?
Our Novus Works team bridges the gap between learners and employers, ensuring that learners are preparing for jobs on release, and make sure that they are matching the needs of the employers with the right prison leavers. This approach has had a positive impact in the Yorkshire region where colleagues are supporting learners for 12 weeks prior to release and are assisted for a further week post-release. In doing so, this helps the men and women to develop a support network that is so vital when re-entering their communities. This approach has tripled the job outcomes compared to other regions. Businesses have helped us achieve this success by getting involved and guiding us in our training and curriculum, and by providing a direct and secure route to employment.
Over the course of this month, we have employability and enrichment days planned across our larger prison estate. For example, this week we had visits from ISG and NG Bailey at our HMP Northumberland education department to discuss the employment chain for a 3-year building project that will create opportunities for our learners post release.
Following on from this we have a range of employer engagement events planned including, an event at HMP Thameside alongside OAPA and the International Hotel Group a visit to HMP Lancaster from Starbucks, and an employability event at HMP Kirkham with Wagamama and an employer event lined up with Platinum Rail, Portland, and We Are Social Enterprise at HMP Wealstun.
There are so many ways for employers to get involved and help us lay the foundations for change. If you would like to discuss ways you could help, get in touch or head to our Novus Works page to find out more.