(L-R): Dennis Sayer, WIRE Project Manager, Sam Allen and PCC Lord Willy Bach
Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach, a strong advocate of work to rehabilitate offenders, heard inspirational accounts illustrating vividly how his funding has helped ex-offenders to turn their lives around.
The PCC visited Alltruck PLC in Loughborough to find out more about the work of the WIRE Project (Working in Rehabillitation & Employment), a ground-breaking project run by Leicestershire Cares.
The initiative matches up ex-offenders with two-week unpaid work placements with local businesses to help them access work experience and acquire a positive reference from an employer.
Willy Bach has agreed to fund the innovative project for two years with a grant for £40,000 per annum.
During his visit, he met representatives from Alltruck PLC and other employers involved in the scheme.
More than six in every 10 participants (66%) have progressed into full time employment or training following their involvement on the scheme, mostly with the employers they completed their work experience with.
To date, no one has ever committed an offence while on a placement while only 1.9% of participants go on to reoffend in the future.
Commenting on his visit, the Commissioner said: “To hear the evidence and impact of this positive scheme on those taking part was heartening and I was pleased to see that my funding is being used effectively.
“This project is proof that employment is the best way of helping ex-offenders to get their lives back on track and boost their self-esteem, motivation levels and practical skills as well as giving them a sense of structure.
“The results speak for themselves and show the value in practical solutions to drive down reoffending rates. Prevention is at the very core of my Police and Crime Plan and it is only through tackling the social issues at the root of criminality that we will achieve long-term reductions in reoffending. I’m looking forward to seeing the continued progress of this project.”
Kieran Breen, chief executive of Leicestershire Cares, said: “The difference the WIRE project makes is to help dozens of employers to give ex-offenders that second chance, to experience work, get a positive reference, gain qualifications and hold down a job. That makes a huge difference to those individuals’ lives and it makes a huge difference to the wider community of Leicestershire.”
As well as opening the door to permanent employment opportunities, WIRE also provides funding for HGV licences and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards.
The service aims to deliver 24 employability workshops within Leicestershire prisons per year with follow-up mock interviews from real businesses, provision for 80 two-week mentored work placements with references and aftercare provision for up to 45 individuals to help people access employment behind their placement.
Sam Allen was referred to the WIRE Project in October 2014 with a variety of issues that had impacted on his ability to access the labour market.
The WIRE Project worked with Sam until it was deemed to be a good time for him to attend a work placement to get him that next step closer to employment. In April 2015 we arranged a two-week unpaid mentored work placement at Alltruck PLC, after which Alltruck offered Sam full-time paid employment.
He has been with Alltruck valeting their HGVs for almost two years and is now looking to progress his career and train as a vehicle mechanics fitter with Alltruck.
Sam Allen said: I can’t believe the support that the WIRE Project and Alltruck have given me. You’ve changed my life, thanks guys.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 16th February 2017