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AN EMPLOYMENT initiative in the North of England is celebrating major success in helping ex-offenders into work.

Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) has been working in partnership with the Prison and Probation Services since January this year to deliver the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), European Social Fund CFO programme.

The National Offender Management Service is working hard to tackle the root causes of reoffending. Gaining employment can contribute to the rehabilitation process and reduce re-offending, protect the public and prevent people from becoming the victims of tomorrow.

Engaging the expertise of independent organisations, businesses and charities is vital to changing people's lives and stopping the revolving door of crime.
Between January and October, PPDG has successfully placed more than 160 ex-offenders into employment across the North East more than double the target of 80. Employment coaches have engaged with more than 1350 candidates more than 35pc ahead of the required 1000 and, so far, almost 100 of those have progressed into further learning or work-based education.

Speaking about the success, PPDG operations manager, Mark Harrison, said: The crucial aim of this contract is to help people into employment, something PPDG has years of expertise in.

Ex-offenders often have to deal with some of the hardest barriers to employment to deal with and were absolutely delighted with the results. This is no mean feat and we are keen to mention much of it has been made possible by the support and the very close working partnership we have with the NOMS, The Prisons and Probation Services.

Weve listened hard and are working in partnership with them to make this programme a continued success we will ensure we continue to help people break down barriers to employment, no matter what their background.

PPDG works with current and ex-offenders to enhance their ability to return to employment by helping individually and in groups with confidence and motivation, offering people a chance to learn new skills, source suitable job vacancies, update their CV and prepare for interviews.

PPDG is working direct with seven North East prisons Kirklevington, Holme House, Durham, Low Newton, Castington, Acklington and Deerbolt - and with Northumbria, Durham and Teesside probation services.

Gavin Brown, NOMS CFO lead business manager, said: "PPDG is doing extremely well, the achievements are exceeding expectations.

"The proactiveness in how Pertemps builds relationships with the Prisons and Probation Service and local employers is very impressive and is undoubtedly key to the success."

The programme is aimed at people serving the last months of a custodial sentence or under supervision of probation services within the community.

The programme will run for an initial two year period and is co-financed by the European Social Fund.

Case Study

Dale Francis, a father-of-three from Middlesbrough, was a first time offender serving a community sentence. Dale, who is a keen singer and successfully made it through to Boot Camp on the X Factor several years ago, struggled to find a job despite being dedicated and keen to work.

I was really surprised at the lack of support out there, no-one seemed to be willing to see who I really was - the stigma of having a conviction meant I was rejected and most of the time I was never even told why, said Dale.

I think there is a stereotype of what a criminal is and many organisations seem to reject you immediately once youve disclosed it. Its incredibly hard for people, many of whom may just have made a mistake in life.

PPDG recognised Dale had a good range of skills and was desperate to be employed, so when a vacancy came up within the organisations own project team, he was interviewed and successfully secured a full-time job.

My life was turned around when I was referred to Pertemps, the NOMS programme is brilliant as it is specifically designed for people like me. I knew I had a lot to offer an employer I am diligent, professional and I work hard all people like me need is a chance.


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