Changing lives and reducing re-offending

23 Jul 2021
A successful new partnership led by Ingeus UK is building career foundations for out-of-work ex-offenders in the construction sector.  

Fifteen participants recently took part in the first vocational course, hosted in the East Midlands. 13 finished the training, with 12 offered permanent employment as a result. 

The construction initiative is part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) CFO3 project, which helps ex-offenders move towards a working future. 

CFO3 is part-funded by the European Social Fund and is delivered in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East by Ingeus UK. The pioneering new partnership includes the Leicestershire and Leicester Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), Leicester City Council Employment Hub, Lendlease Group and RMF Construction.

What support is on offer?

The range of support for CFO3 participants includes: To access this valuable service, candidates must be 18 years or over and completing a community order, post-custodial licence, or prison sentence with up to three years to serve.

Tackling employment barriers head on

National research reveals that finding paid employment is a key stabilising factor that reduces the risk of re-offending by up to 85%, making communities safer.

Gary Smith, CFO3 Business Manager for Ingeus UK, commented: “Our teams are experienced and innovative when working with offenders. Joining forces with our partners,  RMF Construction and the Lendlease Group offers additional professional training and skill tuition, with quality work opportunities on completion of this special programme.

“The barriers to employment that offenders face have often been in place for many years and trying to find work is almost impossible without the right support. Our case workers tackle these barriers head on, ensuring participants have the practical and emotional resilience to succeed. This personal support has been instrumental in delivering such positive first outcomes.”

All applicants are thoroughly screened and supported by the CFO3 Employment Engagement team, led by Manjit Dhillon. Before starting the three week intensive construction skills course, each participant attends a series of sessions to improve their motivation and understanding of the opportunities available.

All trainees undertake the Construction and Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS), which allows access to all construction sites including RMF Construction and Lendlease. On successful completion, they progress to one of a range of CPCS Plant/Operator courses with RMF Construction. During the training, each participant is supported into work opportunities across the Midlands, including two prison construction projects and the huge ten-year HS2 rail link project.

Delivering results with Partners

RMF Construction provides construction services, and its training academy teaches rail and construction qualifications, supported by job search support. Dara McCarthy, with RMF Construction Training Academy Ltd, said: “The CFO3 project has enabled RMF to work closely with Ingeus UK, providing the necessary support for participants to ensure they successfully progress from training to real employment opportunities.”

Lendlease Group is a global construction, property and investment company. Rita Patel Miller, Social Value Lead, Construction and Development Midlands, explained: “Lendlease is absolutely committed to supporting this training partnership with Ingeus UK and RMF Freshstart CIC. By sharing employment opportunities and developing this innovative solution, prison leavers and those facing significant barriers and challenges will be supported into meaningful and sustainable employment.”

Opening a door: Participant Case Study

Thirty-year-old Sam’s last custodial sentence ended in 2017 and he has just completed probation supervision in the community, having being released on a post-custodial licence.

“Things are really starting to look good for me,” said Sam, who lives in Leicester and has three children. “I’ve received training and my case worker helped me all the way.”

Sam was referred to the CFO3 project and completed his CSCS certificate and Traffic Marshal. He now works for RMF Construction on the building of the new Glen Parva prison.

“After joining the programme I felt that a door had been opened for me that was going to lead to much better things,” commented Sam. “I also got my traffic control ticket and I now have a responsible position on the gate, that includes directing the heavy plant machinery. People know about my past; they can see I have changed.”

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