At Novus, we understand the significance of employment for ex-offenders; that's why we've made it our mission to equip our learners with essential, functional skills. Our approach empowers and prepares prisoners to integrate seamlessly into society, instilling the knowledge and confidence needed to pursue advanced education of fulfilling employment after release.
How many prisoners re-offend?
Around a quarter of the overall prison population (both adult and youth) go on to reoffend in the 12 months after release. Similarly, there is a proven reoffending rate of over 57% among those who are released from short-term custodial sentences of less than 12 months.
The economic and social cost of these reoffences is approximately £18 billion per year.
In this blog, we'll discuss:
- The transformative benefits of employment for ex-offenders
- The link between employment and prisoner rehabilitation
- The challenges faced by ex-offenders entering employment
- How Novus is helping ex-prisoners find jobs
How does employment reduce re-offending?
Having a stable job is a critical part of a prison leaver's journey back into society. Employment after release equips prison learners with:
- Earning power
- A structured routine
- Social contact
- A sense of purpose and direction.
Prisoner employment has a direct effect on reducing reoffending and cutting the number of crimes committed in our communities - dismantling the cycle of offending.
Why do ex-offenders struggle with employment?
Only 17% of ex-offenders manage to find a job within 6 months of their release, despite many employers recognising the significant benefits of hiring prison leavers, with over 90% agreeing that diverse recruitment enhances the workplace.
Those serving shorter custodial sentences often have a smaller window of opportunity to engage in the learning and enrichment programmes available to them. Limited learning time means that inmates don't have enough time to work meaningfully on fundamental studies like English and Maths, whilst also missing opportunities to close practical skill gaps with vocational education and training.
Additionally, many learners face educational and support needs which may have contributed to their confinement, which require time and care to address.
Based on recent statistics, 47% of individuals who enter the judicial system have no formal qualifications, and around 57% struggle with extremely low literacy levels. Unsurprisingly, this is a significantly disproportionate number compared to those outside of the prison system.
At Novus, our mission is to make it easier for prison leavers to progress into higher education, continue with vocational endeavours, or find fulfilling employment opportunites upon release.
We are partnered with employers across the country, allowing us to support our learners into employment upon their release. If you are interested in speaking to a member of our team to understand the benefits of employing prison leavers within your business, please get in touch!
How do we prepare prison leavers to enter employment?
We prepare our learners for the world of work by equipping them with the essential skills, abilities, and hands-on experience needed for their chosen career path, allowing ex-offenders to move into rewarding jobs swiftly after their custodial sentence ends.
We work collaboratively with our learners to match their educational and vocational activities with the skills and experience they will need to gain employment in their chosen field.
This personalised learning plan covers any academic or technical qualifications needed, while also equipping learners with the soft skills most employers look for during the recruitment process.
This boosts prisoner employability beyond just qualifications and professional progression - readying them for the world of work, while also encouraging personal development as part of the learning process.
By partnering with leading businesses and industry experts, Novus offers a unique opportunity to learners in the English and Welsh prison systems; providing access to leading vocational training in fields like carpentry and hospitality.
Partnerships with charities to deliver prison education courses
We are proud to be currently partnering with The Right Course, a charitable organisation run by Simon Sheehan and Fred Sirieix of First Dates - to deliver catering classes to our learners and support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.
The Right Course works in high security environments to upgrade staff cafeterias, providing inmates with the training needed to operate the new facilities to a professional standard.
Through this, our learners receive an unmatched hands-on vocational experience as well as real-world connections and experience to include on their CV. As an additional bonus, prison faculty and staff can enjoy healthy and nutritious meals which support them in carrying out their life-changing work at a high level.
We at Novus expect to see continued growth in the success of projects like these - thanks in part to the introduction of legislation in which allows inmates at open prisons across the UK to apply for apprenticeship programmes.
By teaming up with our sister organisation, Total People, we aim to consolidate our ongoing prison-based initiatives by encouraging our learners to take advantage of the fantastic prisoner apprenticeship ventures exclusively available to them.
Access to real opportunities for ex-offenders
We are proud to provide routes to employment through our Novus Works partnership; working with leading, socially engaged employers to give our learners access to real local and regional job opportunities, apprenticeships, and training at the end of their custodial sentence.
Finding employment as an ex-offender shouldn't be a formidable task. With support from our partners - who create employment opportunties for those with criminal convictions and criminal records - our learners are empowered to develop skills to successfully find a role that suits them and make sustainable and rewarding employment an achievable goal - ultimately reducing the risk of re-offending.
Raising awareness of prison education
Novus is committed to ending the cycle of incarceration and reoffending by opening pathways into rewarding futures, facilitating personal development for our learners, and boosting understanding about the meaning of life after prison.
In raising awareness of the transformative power of comprehensive education and positive employment destinations for ex-offenders, we hope to inspire support for our mission - from communities, educators, and local authorities alike.
If you're interested in contributing to the vital work Novus does, learn more about what we do, or find out how you can work with us today.