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Just the job: Sussex employers giving ex-offenders a second chance

16 November 2018

A job fair aiming to get around 100 people with a criminal past back into work took place in Brighton this week.

The event gave ex-offenders the chance to meet employers from across Sussex to help them back into the job market and employment. Construction companies, recruitment agencies, landscaping firms and hoteliers were among the dozen employers in attendance.

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC), the agency responsible for supervising Sussex’s low and medium risk offenders, is behind the drive to get people with a criminal past into work. With research showing that six in ten businesses automatically reject applicants with a criminal record, ex-offenders need support like today’s job fair to find companies willing to offer them a second chance. 

KSS CRC education, training and employment manager, Suzanne Purcell, said:

“Employers at the job fair recognise that employing ex-offenders can make for good business. The organisations we work with consistently report that ex-offenders are some of their most loyal, hard-working and committed employees.

“Our candidates disclose their history openly and the reality is that employers probably have a better understanding of the people we work with than applicants who come to them via other routes. I would urge business leaders who have thought about employing an ex-offender to get in touch, find out more and perhaps take part in our next jobs fair due at the beginning of 2019.”

Feedback from service users and employers from the Brighton jobs fair was very positive.

Karl (photo right) from Staplehurst said: “I’ve left my number with a few employers and I’m confident I’ll get a job. It was worth travelling all this way to the event.”

Simon attended the fair on his day release from prison. He said: “There’s no easy access to the internet in prison. I found out lots of useful information I can share with other prisoners."

Another service user commented: “Everyone has been really encouraging. I've had lots of advice. It’s increased my confidence to speak to employers.”

Nick Grimley from Interaction Recruitment, a construction company, said: “We spoke to lots of good candidates and will get in touch with them after the event to discuss job opportunities.”

Nicky Emmett from Falcon Green said: “I was impressed by the calibre of people coming to my stand. I’ll definitely be coming back to another event next year.”

Government figures show that ex-offenders in employment are less likely to commit further crime but of those leaving prison, just 17 per cent are in P45 employment one year after release.

If you are an employer and would like to register you’re interested in attending a future jobs fair, please email Suzanne.Purcell@ksscrc.co.uk with your details.

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