Wates Residential has teamed up with recruitment firm One Way to help offenders in the last 18 months of their sentence find work and secure affordable accommodation.
The Brighter Pathways programme has completed a pilot with an inmate from HMP Ford, a Category D open prison in West Sussex.
Wates Residential is now looking at further placements across its projects, with the wider group also considering rolling out the scheme across more sites in London and the south.
The New Futures Network, a specialist part of the prison service responsible for brokering relationships between businesses and prisons, supported the partnership between Wates Residential and One Way with HMP Ford. The prison identified Mo as a candidate for a job on a Wates Residential’s site in nearby Shoreham as a gateman and traffic marshall.
Mo was relocated to HMP Ford’s open prison in West Sussex just over a year ago. He applied for a job and after an interview started work in April 2019.
Before beginning on site, Mo completed checks with the local authority and probation service, in addition to health and safety checks, a fit to travel medical and a number of risk assessments.
A typical day for Mo involves an early start, as he is in charge of managing the main entrance gate to the site and directing site vehicles to their stations. Mo hadn’t originally considered a career in construction, but since working on the site, he has gone from strength to strength and has been trained as a plant machinery marshal.
Since being released from prison, Mo has now been offered a permanent position as a gateman for the Shoreham site.
“I can’t believe I have been given this fantastic opportunity with Wates Residential and One Way,” he said. “The day I was told that I had been successful, I just kept smiling. I have been given a second chance to turn my life around and this opportunity will really help me to get my life back on track so that I can make my mum proud of me again.”
He added: “I feel lucky to have two companies believe in me enough to give me another chance and to invest in training me. I am excited for my future, working in construction and staying out of prison.”
Wates Residential managing director Paul Nicholls said: “Everyone deserves a second chance and the Brighter Futures programme offers a real opportunity for ex-offenders to access sustainable training employment opportunities to support their rehabilitation back into the community and set them up for the future. It also makes real business sense to recruit from a wider talent pool if we are to remain fit for the future and address the industry’s widening skills gap.”