2021 ESF case study - NIACRO - Working Well

Working Well, run by the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO), is the employment support programme for people with convictions, in the community and in prison. With nearly 50 years’ experience of offering services to people who have convictions, NIACRO understands that supporting people into employment or employment-related training significantly helps to reduce reoffending and builds positive futures.

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

Here, NIACRO tells us about a participant who was referred to Working Well by his probation officer specifically for support with disclosure.

It was recognised that the participant’s main barrier to securing employment was disclosure, so we made this our first area of focus on his agreed Action Plan.

We had an initial disclosure awareness meeting in preparation for writing his statement. I had to access his police record from his probation officer before writing a first draft. This was shared with the participant for feedback and amendment, then his probation officer approved our final copy. It was important to the participant that he had a disclosure statement that reflected his true nature as a person and not simply an outline of his convictions.

Action plan to look for work

The participant had a CV but we worked together to refresh this. He had an optimistic and pro-active approach to the job search process. He was registered with a number of agencies and was also completing online job searches.

As part of the agreed Action Plan, I too would engage with him in job searching. I emailed him regular job alerts and he would confirm any posts for which he had applied.

The participant was successful in securing a number of job interviews; some of these were conducted by telephone or online owing to Covid-19 restrictions. On occasions, we would have chatted in advance to discuss disclosure and any other aspects of interview support.

With each interview, he was growing in confidence and believing more that he would soon find employment. He was offered a position but declined due to the low wage. This again fuelled his confidence and belief that the right job would soon be found.

He attended a training day with his local council and was also on a waiting list with another employer. Soon after, he was offered temporary employment and was subsequently signed off the programme.

Securing full time employment

The participant kept in touch via email and recently advised that he has now secured a full time permanent position, saying,

“Just wanted to thank you for all you have done for me regarding my disclosure, all the job adverts you sent me through and the phone calls. Your help has been very much appreciated but I just wanted to tell you the good news.”

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