“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.”