About the project
The Broughton Trust's Jobs, Not Prison project, which began in February 2020, focuses on supporting young people and adults who are actively involved in crime and gangs into employment. The project aims to engage with 30 people each year, progressing 20 into employment, offering an alternative to the life they are leading and relieving the pressure that they are under from negative influences in their cormmunities and their lives.
It provides intense key-worker support to those identified and referred by partner agencies as needing support to enable them to escape a life of crime by helping them towards employment and, eventually, breaking the cycle of offending and re-offending. Jobs, Not Prison works with employers to deliver a bespoke programme, building on skills and aptitudes, providing intensive mentoring and tailored packages to support people into work. Specific, targeted, vocational training enables participants in the project to access vacancies already identified by partner employers who are happy to recruit through work trials and informal interviews rather than more traditional, highly formal processes. The Broughton Trust provides ongoing ‘in work’ mentoring to enable participants to sustain employment and continue on their journey of personal and career develooment. Each participant also has access to a bursary to cover expenses such as obtaining identification, travel or subsistence, further ensuring that all barriers to accessing and sustaining employment are removed.
The bigger picture - ex offenders and employment
According to UK government figures, only 17% of ex-offenders manage to get a job within a year of release from prison, and “of offenders released from custody who are available for work, 12% are employed six weeks following release, while 88% are unemployed” (Employing Prisoners and Ex-Offenders and Q4 statistics 2019/2020) According to the Prison Reform Trust report Prison: The Facts (2019):
- Nearly half of adults (48%) are reconvicted of an offence within one year of release
- Only 17% of people are in employment a year after leaving prison e
- One in seven oecole who left prison in the year to March 2018 were homeless
- Half of respondents to a 2016 YouGov survey said that they would not consider employing an ex-offender.
Project outcomes to date
Thus far, 21 participants have engaged with the programme (the target for the year is 30 engaged).
Of these, ll were engaged on release from prison and the remainder are ex- offenders.
Of those engaged, ll were referred by Greater Manchester Police and the remainder were self-referrals, via friends and family or through other agencies (such as ‘Bed for the Night’)
Of the participants in the programme, 18 of the 21 are still engaged (86%), with two participants having been recalled to prison and one having been sentenced for historic offences. It is the intention of the Broughton Trust to resume engagement with these participants on their release. Of the remaining 18 participants the outcomes achieved thus far include:
- 100% have passed construction qualifications in health and safety.
- 85% have obtained CSCS cards.
- 9 have entered employment and & are still in work. Sadly, one participant lost his employment due to a prison sentence arising from a historical court case, but we anticipate re-engagement on his release in November 2021 (his employer has committed to giving him a second chance). Of those el participants who were engaged, 38% are now in employment, compared to 12% nationally., a testament to the success of the programme.
All the candidates in work thus far are employed in the construction sector. This is as a result of the Broughton Trust's relationship with a number of organisations and companies in this sector whose ethos mirrors its own. Everyone who has been placed in employment has remained there, in large part due to the ongoing support and mentoring provided by the project. The relationship witn employers means that Jobs, Not Prison is able to place people directly into roles without them having to navigate a formal recruitment process which tends to disadvantage this cohort.
All candidates have been funded to equip them with appropriate safety clothing, travel expenses and a subsistence allowance until they receive their first salary payment. From that point they sustain themselves for travel and subsistence. The Broughton Trust has been able, through its funded CSCS card programme, to support these payments. This CSCS package costs £200 per head, including VAT, which represents an additional £3000 of funding to support this programme.
The impact of Covid-19 on delivery
The Broughton Trust commenced delivery of tne Jobs, Not Prison programme in February 2020. Like many other organisations, the first phase of national lock- down measures brought in on 23rd March 2020 meant that the Broughton Trust had to cease face-to-face delivery. In addition, the referral pathways from partner agencies were blocked as a result of tne lock-down.
After six weeks, as some restrictions were lifted, the Jobs, Not Prison programme resumed, continuing to work with those already engaged in the programme. During this time, a number of people, having found out about the project by word of mouth, self-referred to Jobs, Not Prison. During the strict lockdown period the project still managed to place two people into employment.
The Broughton Trust recommenced face-to-face work with particioants in May 2020, and continued to deliver its service despite the numerous restrictions.. The introduction of further restrictions, through the tiered system and the subsequent national lockdown, limited the ability of the Broughton Trust to continue with face- to-face engagement. It is a testament to the effectiveness of the project that so much has been achieved when half of the delivery period was lost due to COVID- 19.
The offer has been made by the local authority to designate the Jobs, Not Prison staff member as a key worker. This will enable engagement, recruitment and face -to-face support (in line with social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines) to resume.
This programme continued delivery within COVID-19 restrictions utilising COVID-19 Secure protocols to continue to mentor those in work, support those in the process of seeking employment and to deal with new referrals. This was only curtailed and limited wnen the tiered system and full lockdown was implemented.
The Broughton Trust prides itself on its innovation and creativity even in the face of a pandemic. This project has also, in the course of six months, generated media coverage both locally, in the Manchester Evening News, and nationally, where both mentors appeared on national television on The Big Questions.
The Jobs, Not Prison project will restart in April 2021 with a full-time worker in place. The existing 21 particioants will continue to be supported (including those who returned to prison, who will be re-engaged upon release) to ensure sustained support and to ensure that those who have not yet found employment are not disadvantaged by the impact of Covid on service delivery, which saw only six months of full service in the year of delivery. In the next phase, a further 20 participants will be recruited via referrals by Greater Manchester Police, meaning tnat there will be a total of 41 participating in the prograrnme.
The value of the programme is demonstrated by the outcomes and the feedback from those tne Broughton Trust supported, which can be seen in this short film which includes the voices of participants.
I've got the normal everyday Iife that
I'd always wanted but never had" (Project participant)