Employ with Conviction workshop opened by High Sheriff of Shropshire
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Operations Directors Angela Parton and Deb Grantham

IMG_8403The VCSAssembly in Shropshire, together with the Criminal Justice Forum, ran a half day work shop on “Employ with Conviction” at the Lord Hill Hotel in Shrewsbury.   35 delegates heard Robert Bland, High Sheriff of Shropshire, speak from personal experience, as an employer who has employed ex-offenders that 15 years later they are still working for him! As a result of visiting YSS, he saw the great things that were happening with young people and criminal justice, and asked local employers to spread the word that ex offenders are extremely employable.

IMG_8388Employers, such as Hoshisaki and Caterpillar, together with Training providers, YSS Trustee Dewi Evans and  Barrie Sheldon West Mercia deputy Police   and Crime Commissioner, heard  from Superintendent Charlie Hill (Warwickshire and West Mercia Police) that there is a  current  collaborative partnership approach in managing offenders, and YSS  works  closely  to extend the supervision of offenders in the community  to  fill in the gaps.   He said “The police are working with YSS to rehabilitate, and accommodation and employment are key. Employers who employ ex offenders must recognise that extra support and reassurance may be required as well as challenging their behaviour”.   He asked local employers to look at how they can support ex offenders into employment.

IMG_8403Becky Rowlands, Greggs, explained that   she has worked with Greggs for over 10 years supporting the initiative of employing ex offenders, and in some case they employ individuals directly from prisons. She added “It’s not about taking on big numbers; it’s about taking that leap of faith. Don’t be put off by people leaving – it happens! Greggs know more about the ex-offenders who work for them that their other employees, and ex offenders can be highly skilled and trained. ”

2014 employ with conviction workshop 5 9 2014

YSS Trustee Dewi Evans and YSS Director of Operations Deb Grantham at the workshop

Pam Radford, Director from Hoshisaki, based in Telford, was interested in talking further to YSS about this work and how they could be involved. Deb Grantham, YSS Operations Director commented that  the workshop had drawn together a range of  employers, training providers, police and probation and  voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations working with offenders. Further work, in partnership with the police, will involve talking to major employers such as Muller and Denso and is in the next phase of work within this project.

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