European Social Fund (ESF) case study - NIACRO Working Well 3

Working Well is a project delivered by NIACRO in partnership with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. The project, which supports people who have offended to progress towards the Labour Market, is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Working Well project

Participants are people who have offended and who are unemployed. This will include people who are in prison and are preparing for, or in the early stages of, release and people who are in the community (many, but not all of whom, will be subject to Probation supervision).

Working Well’s focus is on supporting participants to move into training, education or employment (as appropriate), offering opportunities for building confidence, employability skills and undertaking relevant qualifications. Interview preparation, work taster sessions and placements are also important elements.

The Project also works with employers, Further Education colleges and training providers to increase awareness of the needs of people with convictions and to support compliance with legislation regarding disclosure of convictions.

Participant's story

Read below a case study in the words of a Working Well Employment Officer who provided a participant with support.

Employment Officer's testimony

This client self-referred to Working Well. As his priority was to secure employment, he was immediately referred to our weekly Job Club.

He and I worked together to update his CV and he was pro-active in using this to register with a number of employment agencies. His main barrier to employment was, however, his criminal record and we spent a considerable amount of time looking at his convictions and writing his statement of disclosure.

Focus on training

We focussed on training to enhance his CV and improve his employability. He enrolled for Essential Skills training and attended a weekly e-learning group to access a range of online courses. Some of the online courses he completed included COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) and Food Hygiene.

With each achievement he was growing in confidence and believing more that he would soon find employment.

He continued to engage in regular job search sessions with me and to actively apply for work. He also attended our Service User Forum and a Meet the Employer event, as well as engaging in a mock interview scenario.

Paid employment

Our client was signed off the programme when he was presented with the prospect of paid employment through signposting to another training provider. During his exit interview, he referred to the confidence that he had gained during his time on Working Well; how his regular attendance at Job Club and e-learning helped develop his ability to work with others and participate in group sessions. He also made particular reference to the support he received with disclosure.

Our client is currently in full-time employment.

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