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In response to the launch of the Employment and Education Strategy, Nacro Chief Executive, Jacob Tas, said:

“We welcome the launch of the Employment and Education Strategy and are very encouraged to see greater focus on employers and prisons working together to provide more work opportunities for people upon release from prison.  A new apprenticeship pathway, training during time in prison to match the needs of local labour markets and increased use of release on temporary licence are all important steps to help tackle stubborn re-offending rates and give people leaving prison a chance to move on, turn away from crime and build a better future.

At Nacro, we see first-hand that having a job can play a critical role in helping people turn their lives around. All too often, Nacro staff see people released from prison struggle to secure employment or a place to live, with too many left unemployed and homeless leading to an increased likelihood of reoffending.

“Over 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record and people with convictions find it eight times harder to find a job. With significant skills gaps across many sectors and evidence to show the commitment many people with convictions have to their employers, it is time to think differently about the ‘untapped talent’ that people with convictions can bring to organisations.  We are proactive in our recruitment of people with criminal records, with 12% of our workforce having a conviction.  We created our Employer Advice Service to provide organisations with operational advice, training and ongoing support to ensure correct processes are followed when dealing with job applicants that have criminal convictions, and our Resettlement Advice Service, seeks to remove the barriers that prevent people with criminal records, or those who are at risk of offending, from moving forward with their lives.  We encourage any employers or individuals seeking work that need support to visit https://www.nacro.org.uk/resettlement-advice-service/, send an email to helpline@nacro.org.uk, or call 0300 123 1999 to find out more.

“We are pleased to see the Government’s focus upon improving education and employment opportunities.  As part of this drive, we believe the Government’s next step should be a fundamental review of the criminal records regime to create a fairer, more transparent and easier to navigate system for employers and people with convictions.”