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News 30 May 2019

London Borough of Brent addresses crime levels and unemployment in ex-offenders with The Forward Trust

By Mike Trace
Bright Futures is a new specialist employment programme provided by The Forward Trust in Brent which will enable ex-offenders to secure employment in good quality jobs that are aligned to their skills.

Not only will this improve employment levels in ex-offenders, but it aims to provide social benefits for the borough too by reducing levels of crime – as not being able to get a job or sustain employment is a key factor that drives ex-offenders back to crime.

Bright Futures has been introduced because unemployment amongst ex-offenders is particularly high as employers are reluctant to recruit them, they are more likely to have low-level skills and qualifications – which means they find it difficult to complete for opportunities – and they are more likely to have other associated problems that prevent them from securing and/or sustaining employment.

The project will run from May 2019 to March 2021 and has the following objectives:

  • To help ex-offenders secure employment in good quality jobs that are aligned to their skills and which they want to do
  • To enable Brent ex-offenders to retain and progress in employment
  • To establishing a local network of mentors for ex-offenders
  • To secure a commitment from local employers to work in partnership with the council and partners in Brent’s Community Safety Strategy to maximise the employment potential of ex-offenders

Using Employment Coaches, Bright Futures will provide clients with one-to-one support, employability workshops and mentoring support. An established employer engagement team will source job and apprenticeship opportunities. The Forward Trust will also work with Brent Council, Brent Works, London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and other partners.

Asi Panditharatna, the Forward Trust’s Divisional Director of Employment services explained:

This is a new and exciting employability programme that we are very pleased to be delivering in partnership with the London Borough of Brent. We have extensive experience of supporting ex-offenders into employment through our successful Employment Coach model and an ongoing commitment to working closely with employers to ensure they will be able to recruit well-prepared and talented individuals who will make a significant contribution to their organisations.

Cllr Agha, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills & Employment, said: “We want a borough where everyone can feel secure and where each resident is given every opportunity to succeed. This partnership with the Forward Trust means that we can help all residents, including ex-offenders, access the employment opportunities that we have in Brent and make a positive contribution to this borough.”

The Forward Trust, in partnership with the London Borough of Brent, are celebrating Employability Day with a hosted roundtable comprised of our employers, commissioners and partners.The event will focus on how the employment gap can be closed by promoting the `talent’ of the people we support, who are ex-offenders, people in recovery, young people at risk of offending and others who are unemployed or NEET.