2021 ESF case study - NIACRO - Working Well 4

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

After being released from prison, this participant joined the Working Well programme for support to help him get back into employment. He had worked in the past, had a good educational background and a stable family life, and wanted to be able to provide for his family.

The participant thought, with having convictions, it would be harder to overcome the stigma that comes with having a criminal record and would need support to address this to enable him to get back to work. He envisaged it to be particularly difficult to explain an employment gap due to being in prison, so NIACRO worked with him to overcome this initial barrier by completing a disclosure letter.

Training for labour/construction trade

He also wished to update and gain some skills to allow him to progress in the labour/construction trade. The participant completed high-speed First Aid training internally with NIACRO, as his previous First Aid training certificate was out-of-date. He also completed high-speed Working at Heights training.

The participant then took the opportunity to attend a construction workshop and submitted his updated CV for consideration if a post were to become available in the future.

He attended, completed and passed Construction Safety Register (CSR) training and obtained a CSR card. Completing each of these courses allowed the participant to increase his motivation, confidence and realise his own potential. The possibility of gaining employment was seeming more within his reach.

A new job

He completed job searching independently and now has a start date for a new job. He is also awaiting Covid restrictions to be lifted to complete a Counterbalance Forklift Licence refresher course which will allow him to secure permanent work in this role.

The participant appreciates all the help and support he has gained through NIACRO and is happy where he is now and what this means for him and his family’s future.

A member of the Working Well team tells us,

“It has been a pleasure to support and work with him over the last few months. He is highly motivated to achieve and I am so happy and proud to see him progress and move through the programme into employment with new and updated skills which he can take with him and build on throughout his career.”

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