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Local business networks urged to play their part in reducing offending

Norfolk businesses taking part in networking events this month will be asked to play their part in reducing crime in the county by offering employment to those with criminal convictions.

Having a job is shown to significantly reduce the likelihood that someone with an offending past will commit crime again. The Gateway to Employment scheme, run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), aims to work with local employers to secure training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

In the last two years, Norfolk businesses signed up to Gateway to Employment have provided more than 500 positive opportunities to ex-offenders – from work experience and mock interviews to bursaries, training and paid employment.

Businesses attending the Norfolk Chambers’ ‘Two Hour Tuesday’ breakfast event in King’s Lynn on 19 November and the ‘Coastal Co.nnect’ session in Great Yarmouth on 21 November will have the chance to find out how they can get involved with the scheme.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green said: “We know that having a job can reduce the likelihood someone will go on to re-offend but, for many, the barriers they face in finding employment can make it difficult to leave their offending pasts behind them.

“Some employers will, and do, use the declaration of a criminal record to discriminate against a job applicant. 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record; when it comes to tackling skills shortages and building a workforce which fits the needs of our businesses, that is a massive pool of potential candidates.

“It’s great to see so many Norfolk businesses already playing their part in keeping our county safe by helping to breaking the cycle of offending. However, we would like to see more get involved with the scheme and consider how they can help ex-offenders to secure work.”

Nova Fairbank, Head of Policy for Norfolk Chambers said: “Employers are constantly looking to access a skilled and, more importantly, willing workforce.  More and more employers are helping to support ex-offenders and we would encourage more Norfolk employers to look at all options when recruiting new staff members.”

 

Case study

Alex was offered an apprenticeship by Home Group – one of the supporters of the Gateway to Employment scheme. Impressed by her honesty, integrity and motivation, Home Group supported Alex’s continued training and development, which led her to land a permanent position with the organisation as well as a nomination for a national apprenticeship award.

Speaking of her experience, Alex said: “Every day I learn something new and I am so grateful for the opportunity. In five years, I want to have made real progress and I want to have also helped people like me. If I can change the attitude of one person then that will be a success.”

 

For more about Gateway to Employment, visit http://gtoe.co.uk/

The Chamber of Commerce networking events are free for members and non-members to attend.

 The Two Hour Tuesday event will be held at King’s Lynn Town Hall from 7.30am to 9.30am on Tuesday 19 November 2019. More information can be found at https://www.norfolkchamber.co.uk/events/two-hour-tuesday-networking-kings-lynn-5

The Coastal Co.nnect event will be held at Great Yarmouth Town Hall from 9.30am to 11.30am on Thursday 21 November 2019. More information can be found at https://www.norfolkchamber.co.uk/events/coastal-connect-0