Cautious employers missing out on talent

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BUSINESSES in the East of England are more cautious about employing people with a criminal record than anywhere else in the country, a survey has revealed.

The survey, commissioned by Business in the Community, showed that only 45% of businesses in the East would consider employing an ex-offender compared to the national average of 90%.

Yesterday, the charity held a Right Step Criminal Justice Training event at the UK Power Networks training centre on Barton Road, Bury St Edmunds.

The day was designed to educate businesses on how they can benefit from working with ex-offenders and the Prison and Probation Service.

In partnership with the National Offender Management Service and the European Social Fund, the BITC is delivering the Right Step project linking employers with their local Prison and Probation service to benefit businesses and the wider community.

The Right Step event was due to look at the UK Criminal Justice System, what a criminal record means, and help explain the jargon employers face when receiving job applications from ex-offenders.

Mike Brophy, regional director of BITC in the East of England, said over cautious employers in Suffolk are missing out on talented people.

He said: “The Government says that almost half of all adult offenders released from custody reoffend within a year.

“But evidence shows that having a job has been proven to reduce reoffending by 25-33%.

“We believe that by offering information, tools and real-life examples of successful businesses who have engaged with this agenda, we can encourage more employers to consider how working with offenders can benefit them and help reduce crime in our region.”