08 December 2017
A conference aimed at helping businesses employ ex-offenders takes place in Birmingham in the New Year.
Prospects, one of the leading providers of in prison education to 40 prisons, is organising the event at Canalside on Wednesday, January 17. It is themed The Future of Business: Employment solutions in light of Brexit – the untapped labour force.
Keynote speakers will include Henrietta Brealey, director of policy and strategic relationships at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Andrew Cleaves, director (improving skills) of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
Victoria Blakeman (pictured), Prospect’s director of offender management and specialist services, said: “The event gives an opportunity to find out how ex-offenders can provide a source of labour resource to meet the challenges of growth across the Midlands, supporting the social responsibility agenda.
“This half day conference will give delegates positive information on how to address their skills needs by employing the often forgotten, yet no less important, community of ex-offenders.”
Prospects works with National Careers Service in Custody and provides education in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.
Ms Blakeman added: “Prospects transforms lives and communities through our innovation and expertise in employment, skills, care and education. It is great to see key leaders across the West Midlands wanting to come and support this initiative.
“From the West Midlands Combined Authority to the Chamber of Commerce all are encouraging business to support local communities through the provision of opportunity and growth.
For over 20 years we have combined business excellence and public service values to inspire more than half a million young people and adults across the UK every year to develop their potential.
“The current process of offender rehabilitation is disjointed and piecemeal. At Prospects we want to make this activity seamless by working with key stakeholders to join up the processes and provide a clear route for recently released prisoners to return to the community.
“Key benefits include providing ex-offenders with hope for the future; the reduction of offending and for communities and businesses to benefit from working with recently in-prison trained ex-offenders to help deliver their outcomes.
“There are approximately 12,000 prisoners serving sentences in and around the West Midlands and the vast majority will be released into the area on completion of their sentence. Without employment, this untapped labour force will place burdens on public sector services and on local and business communities.
“Businesses today must be seen to support and provide answers to addressing some of society’s key challenges. The blight of crime and the subsequent impact on communities and the cost to the state demonstrates the need to identify an outcome that benefits all.
“Engaging with Prospects can help a business meet their social responsibility objectives, and introduce them to a future valued member of staff.”
The event takes place from 9am to 2pm at The Cube, 196 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. Free tickets can be booked on Eventbrite by typing ‘The Future of Business: Employment solutions in light of Brexit – the untapped labour force' in the search engine.