Sodexo launches toolkit to help employers recruit ex-offenders

27th of March 2024
Sodexo launches toolkit to help employers recruit ex-offenders

Sodexo UK & Ireland marked the first anniversary of Starting Fresh earlier this month with the release of an employer toolkit. The toolkit builds on resources the organisation launched last March to help bridge the gap between businesses struggling with skills shortages and the under-utilised talent pool of people with criminal convictions.

One year ago, research commissioned by Sodexo found that while 62 per cent of UK private sector businesses were facing recruitment challenges, a third had not considered hiring ex-offenders.

These findings informed the launch of Starting Fresh, which leverages Sodexo's experience in managing prisons, to advocate for and provide employment opportunities for this often overlooked group.

In its first year the initiative has facilitated over 300 job opportunities through new partnerships with companies like Marriott Hotels, Burger King and Iceland. These collaborations have included employer days in prisons, allowing businesses to meet potential employees and learn about their skills and qualifications first hand.

So now the company is aiming to extend the support and reach of Starting Fresh to more employers with the launch of the toolkit.

Tony Simpson, justice operations director, Sodexo UK & Ireland, explained: "We believe in the transformative power of gainful employment for people with criminal convictions, and are keen to drive recognition of the immense value they can bring to both businesses and the communities they serve.

"Nearly 50,000 people leave prison every year, many emerging with formal qualifications they didn't have before in construction, cleaning, catering, hospitality, hairdressing and many other areas.

"Our employer toolkit has been built to help organisations proactively engage with our prisons and partners to start the hiring process with prison-leavers."

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