Businesses across Leicestershire are poised to attend a unique employment event sharing the first-hand experiences of ex-offenders who have been supported to find work.
The event, called Unlock Opportunity, is funded by Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach and is being organised in partnership with Leicester City Council’s Employment Hub, the Department for Work and Pensions and Leicestershire Cares’ WIRE Project to promote the social and business benefits of offering work placements, employment or mentorship opportunities to ex-offenders.
The PCC invests £25,000 each year into the Wire Project, which supports ex-offenders back into work by arranging volunteering positions and mentored work placements with local employers to develop their skills, demonstrate their reliability to future employers and increase their employability.
The project, which currently provides placements for around 80 people every year, boasts an impressive success rate with 65% of participants finding work within three months. It is supported by Lloyds Bank plc and David Wilson Homes.
The city council’s Employment Hub was launched in March 2018 as a three-year business support project to help drive employment and training opportunities locally. Since its creation and in less than a year, the hub has helped create more than 150 opportunities including apprenticeships, graduate internships, local jobs and volunteering opportunities, supporting more than 100 businesses and organisations.
Over 100 business representatives from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are expected to attend the event, which takes place on Thursday 21 February at Attenborough Hall, City Hall, Leicester.
The event, which will deliver a number of presentations from keynote speakers including the PCC, Tracey Waterfield, employment hub manager at Leicester City Council and WIRE project manager Dennis Sayer, will help employers understand the advantages of employing ex-offenders through the live testimonies of individuals and companies who have succeeded through such schemes.
Willy Bach said: “I’m really proud to support this event and showcase the many success stories in Leicestershire with the hope of encouraging other businesses to consider getting involved.
“Giving someone a second chance through the opportunity of employment can break the cycle of offending and serves a practical purpose, helping individuals to increase their skills, confidence and future employability.
“Preventing crime is a key priority for me and I believe support is the way to achieve it, giving those who have or are contemplating crime a choice over their future.”
The PCC invests more than £1million every year into crime prevention with the aim of reducing re-offending and also preventing people from offending in the first place by working with families and disadvantaged young people.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I’m very pleased to back this event through the work of our Employment Hub. In recent years we’ve had great success in bringing in investment, businesses and jobs to Leicester, matching employers with a skilled and able local workforce.
“Events like this one help to ensure these opportunities are available to as many people as possible, offering practical support to both employers and their potential new employees.”
The aim of the event is to encourage businesses to pledge a commitment to explore further opportunities around employing ex-offenders through the various programmes available. It will also create a directory for supportive businesses which will be hosted on the council’s Employment Hub website.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 12th February 2019