2021 ESF case study - NIACRO - Working Well 5

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

In this case study, NIACRO tells us about a participant who joined the Working Well programme as she was interested in getting some help with completing her community service hours through NIACRO whilst working on her employability. She had worked in the past and had a good educational background.

Due to her conviction happening at work, the participant was concerned how this would impact her ability to seek future employment. She was also struggling with her mental health as she had just left a domestically abusive relationship, so needed support to work on her confidence and self-esteem.

NIACRO supported her to complete a disclosure statement to put into context how the incident that lead to her conviction came to happen. This showed how she had acted out of character and the positive work she had since undertaken to help her when disclosing to future employers. Together, they also updated her CV to give her more confidence when applying for future jobs.

Support with confidence and self-esteem

The participant was referred to NIACRO’s women’s group for support with confidence and self-esteem. She was not quite ready for employment at that time, but NIACRO supported her to find a voluntary position which she really enjoyed and she said this helped rebuild her self-worth as she felt she was giving back to the community.

In addition, the participant wished to update and gain some skills and training in the retail sector to help her regain employment in the future. She completed ‘retail service’ and ‘communication skills’ training, as well as ‘customer care’ and ‘money and business’ courses. She stated that these helped her to feel more prepared and motivated for returning to employment in the retail sector.

As the participant had been out of work since her conviction, NIACRO identified that it may be useful for her to undertake an OCN (Open College Network) Employability course with their in-house trainer which she went on to successfully complete, further boosting her confidence around returning to employment.

When NIACRO closed her case she had been able to complete her community service hours and appreciated all the help and support she had gained and was happy with where she was, and what it meant for herself and her future.

NIACRO stated it had been a pleasure to support and work with this participant as she was highly motivated to engage with the programme and worked hard to complete it, adding that they were so happy and proud to see her progress as she moved through the programme into further education with new and updated skills which she could take with her and build upon.

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