TFN funded project: Working Chance
Working Chance is the UK’s only recruitment consultancy for women with criminal convictions, helping to place candidates into sustainable, quality jobs with mainstream employers across London. Their mission is to empower women with convictions to achieve financial autonomy through employment so they can provide for themselves and their families, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and crime. They help each candidate to find a job which matches her skills and aspirations, and help to resolve any challenges – such as homelessness, debt or domestic abuse – which may act as barriers to finding and holding down a job. Working Chance is committed to ending the employment discrimination faced by women with convictions, enabling them to cross the social divide from a life of exclusion to one of contribution. They educate employers to overcome their preconceptions about ex-offenders and support them to develop truly inclusive hiring practices. Jocelyn Hillman, Working Chance's CEO and Founder, has pitched three times at TFN events, twice in 2012 at TFN London and at an Addidi Partner event, and once in 2013 at a Strategic Funding Group event. Ahead of their impact report at our City Funding Network event on 25th April, we spoke to her about the projects we supported and what their plans for the future are.
‘In 2012 TFN supported our Women @ Work project, which focused on placing candidates into paid jobs in a range of sectors and roles. Our candidates vary enormously in educational and professional background: we have placed everyone from under-21s with no work experience to graduates with long and distinguished careers. For all our candidates, however, paid employment is a crucial factor in reducing re-offending, and our track record clearly reflects this: the rate of re-offending for women we place into paid work is 7%, in stark contrast with the national average of 45% for women leaving prison.
In 2013 TFN generously supported us again, this time to deliver specialist workshops and recruitment services for young offenders in HMP Holloway. Many young offenders are extremely disadvantaged individuals, often lacking the support networks which could enable them to move on from their mistakes and transition successfully into employment. Thanks to TFN, we were able to provide young women in Holloway prison with extensive employability training, covering everything from writing a job application or building a strong CV to developing confidence and disclosing their criminal convictions.
Partly inspired by our work with young women in HMP Holloway, in September 2015 we launched Total Transitions, an exciting project supporting women aged 18-25 who are leaving social care and looking for employment. Less than 1% of under-18s in England are looked after by social services, yet an astonishing 61% of girls in custody have spent time in care. Total Transitions is our first foray into preventative work, placing care-leavers into sustainable, quality jobs to reduce their risks of involvement in the criminal justice system.
Beyond this, we will increase our impact over the coming months by working with greater numbers of women, continuing to tackle their barriers to employment and the discrimination they face. We will also expand the training we offer, in order to ensure our candidates can develop the skills they need to find employment in the current job market.'
If you would like to keep up to date with what Working Chance are doing, follow them on Twitter. To hear from Working Chance and to discover and support more projects working to improve the lives of women, come to our women, gender equality and diversity event on 25th April 2016!