Studies show that ex-offenders who find a job after release are up to 9% less likely to reoffend, highlighting the importance of learners finding employment post release. But with only 17% of prison leavers being employed 6 months after release, ex-offenders are finding it difficult to find and retain employment.
At Novus, we work extremely hard in supporting learners into employment and providing them with the opportunities, skills, and experience necessary to find work.
Why is employment important for ex-offenders?
Securing employment opportunities for people after release from prison is crucial for several reasons.
Firstly, it plays a pivotal role in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration into society; gainful employment provides ex-prisoners with a sense of purpose, routine, and responsibility, which helps maintain good mental health, social engagement, and overall wellbeing.
Having a job reduces the likelihood of ex-offenders returning to criminal activity. Employment offers a stable source of income, reducing the financial strain that can lead individuals back into the cycle of offending and incarceration. It also fosters a positive change in self-esteem and identity, steering ex-prisoners away from a life of crime.
Advocating for employment opportunities post-release is not just about offering individuals a chance at a new beginning; it's an investment in the well-being of both the ex-offender and the wider community long-term.
Is it difficult to get a job after prison?
Finding employment opportunities as an ex-offender can be incredibly challenging for several reasons. One of the biggest obstacles is the stigma associated with a criminal record, which can result in prejudice from potential employers.
Many companies carry out background checks on candidates, making it difficult for anyone with a history of incarceration to secure job opportunities. Limited access to education and skill-building programmes while in prison can also hinder an ex-offender's qualifications for certain roles.
At Novus, we’ve seen first-hand the difference that positive pathways like employment opportunities can have on social reintegration and rehabilitation after release. That’s why we advocate for a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation that encompasses both prison education and employability skills.
Supporting ex-offenders in finding employment
By providing educational, vocational, and enrichment provisions within the prison system, Novus works to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to break free from the cycle of reoffending as they re-enter communities.
Fostering employability skills and offering support both pre- and post-release addresses the practical challenges ex-offenders encounter in securing employment.
Our integrated approach to prison education combines essential functional learning with practical skills development. This not only improves the chances of finding meaningful work, but also contributes to the overall reintegration of our learners into society, promoting a positive, long-term impact.
Additionally, our employer partnerships strategically facilitate training and employment opportunities for ex-offenders, providing inmates with hands-on experience and valuable skills relevant to the job market. These partnerships create a bridge between incarceration and employment, offering a smoother transition for individuals seeking work upon release.
We also advocate for prisoner apprenticeship programmes, which are designed to equip inmates with practical skills and industry-specific knowledge. By providing relevant training, Novus enhances the employability of prisoners, increasing their chances of finding meaningful work upon release.
These prisoner apprenticeships not only contribute to breaking the cycle of reoffending but also foster a sense of purpose and accomplishment among individuals seeking rehabilitation.
Finding employment post release can be a daunting experience which is why our local teams support learners with the career guidance needed so that they're equipped to find work upon release.
Our experienced and knowledgeable team provide an extensive range of career support and guidance to help our learners develop the skills and strategies needed to find and retain employment. The support we offer includes:
- CV support
- Job searching
- Application support
- Guidance on disclosure
- Interview preparation and performance
As we already know many of the learners through the education department, we support them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and help them to find a job that will be right for them and will lead to sustainable employment. We also work closely with the prison and New Futures Network to make sure that all support is joined up and prisoner centric.
For over 30 years, we have worked with a wide range of local and national employers to help learners into employment.
A couple of examples of this, where we have worked with employers such as Greene King and Marston's to create employer-led vocational training programmes, such as the Greene King training academy at HMP Thameside or the Marston's training restaurant at HMP Liverpool. These opportunities help to develop direct routes into employment that will improve learners' opportunities post-release.
Finding employment opportunities through Novus Works
Through employer partnerships, our Novus Works programme connects learners with leading, socially engaged employers. As well as giving them access to regional and local job opportunities, apprenticeships, and further training post-release.
Employment success for former learner
A former learner from HMP Styal, attended an interview whilst in prison for an employment opportunity upon release.
Whilst looking for job opportunities whilst in prison, the learner found a job being advertised local to her home which she applied for via Novus Works. Julie Probert, an employment, and re-settlement coordinator from Novus Works then contacted the learner where she was able to complete her job application and set up a video interview with the organisation.
The video interview took place, whilst the learner was in prison, and she shared her story and the journey she had been on. The interview was a success, and the learner was offered a position upon release. Since then, she has started employment with the organisation and is really enjoying her new job role and has spoken positively about her experience:
I spent 16 months in Styal but my journey following that time has been a positive one. Just focus on going forward and take every opportunity and all the help and support that is given to you, things will get better, better days are coming - I am living proof of it.
Preparing inmates for successful employment upon release has the power to transform lives and strengthen communities. That’s why employability and careers support is a key part of our holistic approach to prisoner education and rehabilitation.
If you'd like to learn more or are interested in working with us to provide new and innovative opportunities to learners, contact us via our work with us page.