Retailers join drive to fill vacancies with prison leavers
Iceland, Co-op and B&Q have joined a two week-long employment push to encourage hundreds of prisoners to take jobs in the retail and logistics sector when they are released.
The initiative aims to plug skills gaps in entry-level roles and is part of a wider drive from the Government to get more prison leavers into work as evidence shows it grows the economy and cuts crime.
‘Unlocking Retail and Logistics’ events have been held in over 30 prisons across England and Wales with the aim of helping British businesses fill some of the estimated one million vacancies in the UK by employing qualified prison leavers.
In addition to Co-op, Iceland and B&Q, events were held by logistics company DHL and retailers Oliver Bonas and Greggs.
With figures showing that ex-offenders in full-time employment are up to nine percentage points less likely to re-offend when released, more than 90% of surveyed businesses who employ prison leavers report they are motivated, have good attendance, and are trustworthy.
Prisons minister Damian Hinds said: “There is a golden opportunity right now for companies working to fill vacancies by taking on prison leavers. Not only does it help grow the economy but it is proven to cut crime.
“Over 90% of businesses employing prison leavers report they are motivated and trustworthy – making them prime candidates to plug some of the current skills gaps in the UK.”
Recent statistics show that the proportion of prison leavers finding work within six months of release rose from 14% to over 30% between April 2021 and March 2023. The increase was supported by a range of initiatives being delivered in prisons to ensure individuals are job-ready before their release.
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