HATS Update | Employer seminar – The benefits of employing people with convictions

Thursday 9 March 10am-11am, online

The Department for Communities and the Department of Justice have developed a pilot initiative to ensure those leaving prisons and are interested in securing employment have a pathway to do so.

The pilot includes Work Coaches from the Department for Communities engaging with people in prison in the months before release, building relationships, examining employment prospects and securing employment opportunities which will be available on release. Built into this is the potential to work with employers on work placements before discharge.

Employers who are willing to work with people leaving prison with convictions is key to this programme’s success. Whilst this is not a new concept, working in a planned and focused manner will ensure leavers will have the best opportunity for employment, and employers will have their vacancies filled by employees who are trained and capable.  

Many employers say hiring people with convictions has increased the diversity of their workforce and has been a contributing factor in helping businesses become more socially responsible. Actively hiring people with convictions has been proven to reduce reoffending and most of the people in this group want the opportunity to turn their backs on crime; having a job helps them do this.

Businesses who have employed people leaving the justice system have stated that it provides a range of benefits including: Reducing initial recruitment and job advertising costs Assists diversity, inclusion and social responsibility Resolving skills shortages Reducing staff absence Increasing staff retention To provide information to employers who are considering hiring people with convictions about how this could work for their business an online session (lasting up to an hour) has been organised. Employers will hear the experiences of those employers who regularly employ people with convictions. It will provide a chance to dispel some of the ‘myths’ as well as ensuring employers are informed, supported and more confident about employing people with convictions. 

Those attending will hear about how the skills gaps that currently exist can be filled as well as how they will be able to meet their social responsibility. A question-and-answer session will take place, giving employers the opportunity to raise questions and seek further information that would reassure them about the benefits of employing someone with a conviction.

To attend this short seminar, email joe.lavery@communities-ni.gov.uk and you will be sent the link to join the meeting.