Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pret A Manger to be applauded – The Simon Hargraves Apprenticeship Scheme

Pret A Monger
Image by ukmari via Flickr

…..Pret has long given food and financial support to the homeless in the UK and we were looking for a new, innovative way to really break the cycle of homelessness once and for all. So, in an effort to help break that cycle, the Pret Foundation has set up an apprenticeship scheme. Named after our dear colleague who passed away – Simon Hargraves; there are now up to 30 places a year available for ex-offenders or homeless people to get a 3-month work placement in the Pret business…..

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Recruiting From Prison Has All Round Benefits

Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

Visionaries and Entrepreneurs!

An open letter to the FT from:

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer; Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group; Matthew Davies, Chief Executive, Pets at Home; Steve Halliday, Chief Executive, National Grid; Ian Sarson, Group Managing Director, Compass Group UK and Ireland; James Reed, Chairman, Reed; Malcolm Walker, Chief Executive, Iceland Foods; James Timpson, Chief Executive, Timpson and Chair of the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending

…Our experience shows that people from prison, if properly selected, will prove to be just as reliable as recruits who come from elsewhere. It is their personality that matters most. Within the prison population of 84,000 there is a large number of potential superstars who get ignored by employers because of their criminal record. It makes sense for UK companies to recruit these individuals and to make use of their skills and enthusiasm….

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Richard Branson champions employment of ex-offenders


Quotes from Guardian Article 16/11/2011

..he is actively encouraging his Virgin group of companies to employ people freshly released from prison, and even some who are still inside and working towards release. “Everybody deserves a second chance,“…

….”A lot of people end up in there [prison] because they’ve had a lot of bad luck in their lives.”…

…For the last two years, one of the UK’s wealthiest and most high-profile businessmen has been suggesting to the managing directors of hundreds of Virgin companies that they take on ex-offenders….

…He met representatives from Australian transport company Toll, which over the past decade has employed about 460 ex-prisoners, none of whom are known to have reoffended so far. Branson was deeply impressed. “As soon as I got back to England, I contacted the MDs of Virgin companies and said to them that we must do the same; to try to take on as many ex-convicts as possible,” he recalls….

…He adds: “I’ve had people at Virgin who have been caught stealing and I’ve given them a second chance. We had one kid who was taking albums sent to us by record companies and selling them to a secondhand record shop. By giving him a second chance he became one of the best employees we ever had.

…”It’s about awareness, they [the government] have to make employers aware of the positives of taking on people who have been in prison.”…

A clarion call for employment of ex-offenders

“In the face of rising unemployment, St Giles Trust Chief Executive Rob Owen sets out why companies should not disregard people with a criminal record.

WITH my former career in the City, I’ve always been hammering on about how corporates should support our work.  Recently, we’ve been lucky to benefit from the support of two very prestigious companies – investment firm Liberum through their newly established charitable trust and global accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers”…………..

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Hiring ex-offenders and homeless morally right, says M&S


English: Logo of Marks & Spencer
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It also makes good business sense!!!

“Hiring people from disadvantaged groups is not only “ethically right” but benefits business performance, according to the HR director of Marks and Spencer.Speaking at the Talent Pipeline Conference , organised by the Employers Forum on Age and Employers Forum on Belief, Tanith Dodge outlined how the retailer encouraged a workforce diverse in age, and was working with the third sector to deliver development programmes for ex-offenders, homeless people and school leavers. ”

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Negativity remains toward ex-offenders


“The performance of ex-offenders contravenes perception among employers which have no experience working with them. Research by Working Links found 77% of resourcing professionals that had not hired ex-offenders thought that these candidates would be less or much less honest, and 42% thought that they would be less conscientious. However, only 7% of employers who have hired ex-offenders said they had a negative experience.”…

Ex-offenders’ bosses feel their work is legit

A third of employers have taken on an ex-offender in their company, with over half rating their experiences as positive, according to a survey from the consultancy CfBT Education Trust.”…


Consistent with what we know. There is a great underused pool of talent.

Employing more ex-offenders – Richard’s Blog –

Employing more ex-offenders – Richard’s Blog –

“I would like to encourage more companies to proactively recruit ex-offenders. Our experience of this within Virgin has been wholly positive – particularly when working with organisations such as Working Chance, who offer restorative recruitment for women offenders.

I believe our society should do more to support positive initiatives to encourage the rehabilitation of prisoners. We should create more chances for people who have been in jail to make a positive contribution to the workforce.

In Australia, Toll, the transport and logistics group – working with WISE Employment – makes a point of doing exactly this and has employed a number of former prisoners. In the UK, Timpson, the key cutting and shoe repair business, has created a successful programme too.

If many more companies could follow their example then many more ex-offenders would be able to find a purpose in life, worthwhile employment – and everyone would benefit.

Research has shown that most ex-offenders are more committed and willing to do more than just the job. They are grateful for the opportunity to do something worthwhile rather than falling back on their former ways and circumstances.

People often start offending because of an unfortunate upbringing or bad circumstances within their families. Maybe a good employer and the positive influence of work colleagues can, in part, be a replacement for a dysfunctional family.”

Small businesses: Building community through hiring –

Small businesses: Building community through hiring –

…”Which Wich (a sandwich shop franchise) has found the employees re-entering society to be hard-working, determined and bringing a positive attitude to the other employees and customers,” said Tracie Maybaum, a Which Wich general manager. “One of the most beneficial assets they bring to work is their attitude. Theirs positivity influences other employees, and their gratitude is motivating.”…..