13 March 2017
Land Securities supports offenders with training in sought-after skills, improving their chances of gaining employment and supporting the industry’s need for skilled workers.
Land Securities’ Community Employment Programme launched in 2011 to help people from disadvantaged groups access training and job opportunities. The programme started by addressing unemployment in London and skills gaps in the construction industry, and works not only with offenders but with other groups furthest from the labour market, such as the homeless, those with learning difficulties, and underrepresented candidates in local communities. The programme won the Business in the Community Work Inclusion Award in 2015.
Debbie Akehurst, Head of Economy and Communities, Land Securities:
Employment is a key challenge for offenders leaving prison. 6 out of 10 employers will automatically exclude the 35,000 offenders leaving prison this year, which contributes to a reoffending rate of around 50%. At Land Securities we work in partnership with charities and other employers to deliver training and create job opportunities with the belief that everyone has the ability to change.
We do not believe in training for training’s sake: we know the importance of employment to ex-offenders and this is always our ultimate aim when working with offenders. Many areas of the construction industry are facing skills shortages, so by working with our contractors and supply chain to identify these shortages we can discover opportunities for offenders while addressing industry need.
One such shortage, which is nationally recognised within the industry, is in dry lining. In June 2015 we proudly launched the HMP Brixton Dry Lining Training Centre alongside Bounce Back, Knauff, Nevill Long, Encon, Measoms and Lend Lease. The centre not only helps those furthest from the jobs market access jobs but is also helping to address the national skills shortage in dry lining.
Following the success of the Dry Lining Centre we recognised that there was also a shortage of trained scaffolders. In October 2016 we opened the first in-prison scaffold training centre in the UK in partnership with Alandale Scaffolding. A number of candidates have completed the 12-week course, which will enable them to start work as scaffolding labourers, a job that commands pay of more than £100 a day.
Jason joined us just as the scaffolding was starting in HMP Brixton and was one of the first to complete his training prior to release. Having not had a full-time job before going into prison, he was enthusiastic to learn a new skill and get out on site. He began his CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) qualification, and on release he completed this and finished his training in the Alandale yard. Six months later he is still going strong. His success reached a pinnacle when he was working with Alandale on the New Scotland Yard site and was filmed for The One Show in a sequence showing the success of the work done by Land Securities, Alandale, and Bounce Back getting people into employment from prison. In addition, the support he has had from Bounce Back and Alandale meant that when he had a few timekeeping issues both partners worked together to help him and he has now become an excellent employee.
Our collaboration with Bounce Back has been extremely positive, and a number of the trainees from our academies have gained employment directly within our supply chain. The Dry Lining Centre continues to train up to 10 people a day. The reoffending rate for candidates working with Bounce Back is less than 12%, compared with a national average of around 50%. This clearly shows the benefits of employment to ex-offenders, which, when coupled with the benefits of addressing skills shortages in the UK labour market, shows the importance of programmes such as this to individuals as well as to the UK economy. We are very proud of the work that we do and would encourage other employers to consider how they can help those furthest from the labour market.
Fran Findlater – CEO Bounce Back:
“We have been delighted by Land Securities’ support and the opportunity that scaffolding gives our participants to get into employment on release. As we focus on training skills that respond to the need of the construction industry, in this with the help of Alandale we have more than fulfilled our objectives – we could easily place 20 or more scaffolders into work – the demand is huge and Alandale have been delighted with their new recruits. Ultimately this has one end goal – stopping people coming back to prison because they have the skills, confidence and earning potential to manage on the outside.”
Matthew Warner – Managing Director Alandale Plant & Scaffolding Ltd:
We have been working closely with the charity Bounce Back and Land Securities to provide a scaffold training facility at HMP Brixton, the aim being to offer ex-offenders guaranteed employment when they leave prison.
By attending our scaffold training course, they learn the basics of the trade, obtain the necessary qualifications and can feel assured of a genuine offer of employment upon release.
Alandale Plant & Scaffolding are proud to be associated with this scheme and look forward to welcoming many more recruits into the fold.