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New initiative gives women a working chance

8 March 2017

A new initiative which will help women who have convictions to find rewarding, quality jobs to reduce their likelihood of reconviction has launched in Guildford.

Employment is vital to reducing risk of reoffending, but women service users often face additional barriers to gaining work, including a lack of childcare support, lack of qualifications, low pay and the stigma of having a criminal record. 

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC) is working with Ixion Holdings and Women in Prison to offer the CF03 Social Inclusion Programme which can help women find employment on their release from prison or during their community sentences. 

The initiative, co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), involves a dedicated Education, Training and Employment Case Worker from Women in Prison forging closer links with local employers in the area and providing practical training and support to women to help them overcome their individual barriers to gaining employment. 

Kate Paradine, Women in Prison’s Chief Executive, said: “Gaining employment is key to reducing the likelihood of reoffending and as well as an income, a good job can also help build confidence and self-esteem. The women we support have so much to offer an employer, their life experiences often mean they are extremely determined, resilient and motivated. We see every day the ways women turn their lives around - and those of their families. But finding work is not easy and there is still a huge misplaced stigma attached to having been in prison. We are delighted to be able to offer holistic support to women in Guildford to help them find the right job and training for them.”

Deborah Franks, KSS CRC’s Employment and Skills Manager, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Ixion Holdings and Women in Prison to offer a specialised and vital service to female service users in Guildford. Offering one-to-one motivational support, advice and practical help to address personal barriers to the world of work and learning,  will vastly improve employability options for women in the area.”

The project in Guildford will run until 2020.

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A former drug addict has become a successful paid chef a year after his release from prison.

Experience of volunteer Aron

When I first met John*, he came across as being very shy and quiet. I attended an initial meeting where I met with Johnís Probation Officer and we agreed actions and goals for him to take to help aid his rehabilitation and tackle the issues that have led him to commit the crime in the first place.

The help of volunteer David

I was asked to work with Andrew* to help improve his self-esteem and decision making skills which led to his drug abuse. At our regular meetings, we explored solutions to his issues and obstacles to his future aspirations. Slowly through this work, his perceptions about himself began to change from feelings of guilty and helplessness, to being able to acknowledge his own personal strengths and attributes.

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