Ex-offender employment specialist Offploy enlisted by DWP to help prison leavers

Ex-offender employment specialist Offploy has been enlisted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to help get 348 prison leavers ‘work ready’ and reduce reoffending rates.

Jacob Hill, founder of Offploy, is a former prisoner himself.

The Yorkshire-based social enterprise has been appointed to the Government’s new ‘Prison Leaver Pilot’ project, a peer-to-peer mentoring programme which aims to pair up those preparing to leave jail with mentors who have lived experience of the criminal justice system – in a bid to provide the necessary tools and training to get ready for work.

Offploy will support 348 prisoners on their release from jails across Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, East Anglia, Birmingham, Solihull, North London and Essex.

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It will enrol 85 candidates on a six-week intensive course and a further 263 on a 16-week peer mentoring programme.

As part of the delivery, which runs to January 2022, Offploy will deliver weekly one-to-one peer mentoring sessions which cover interview skills, CV writing, job applications, and how to deal with rejection.

Jacob Hill, founder of Offploy and a former prisoner himself, said: “While prison can often teach basic skills and even trades, it’s typically the case that people don’t have access to a bank account, have never created a CV, or feel concerned about how to discuss their criminal record with a potential employer.

“But, where individuals are supported into work upon their release, they are 9 per cent less likely to reoffend – thanks to the security of a regular income and personal security. However, the perceived challenges associated with a life away from crime can sometimes act as a significant barrier, and drive some back into the lifestyle and habits they were previously trapped in.

“That’s why, when it comes to trying to prepare prison leavers for life in ‘the real world’, no-one can empathise and advise better than those who have been in that exact same position.”

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