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Project information

Through the Gate and into Work

To break the cycle of re-offending by supporting ex-offenders when they leave prison to find and sustain real paid jobs through Blue Sky’s Agency model (directly employing ex-offenders and placing them in jobs with commercial partners) and its growing network of partners in a range of industries.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Blue Sky Development & Regeneration

Blue Sky Development & Regeneration logo
  • Need


    Re-offending in England and Wales costs the public £13 billion (or 338,000 nurses) per year. Having a job is critical in significantly reducing the risk of re-offending but 75% of prisoners are released to unemployment (Unlocking Potential, MoJ, 2016). Furthermore, despite labour market needs, over 50% of businesses state that they would not consider hiring an ex-offender (Support for Ex-offenders, HoC, 2016), limiting the opportunities available to this group to move forward with their lives.


    We will recruit a team of Employment Coaches to support those graduating from our in-prison employability training (launched last year with 200 prisoners trained to date) so that they can maximise and access the growing number of job opportunities that we are sourcing and creating in the community through our Agency model (which has successfully created employment opportunities for over 1,400 ex-offenders since 2005).

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To engage and support ‘graduates’ of our in-prison training programmes when they leave prison


    » Develop trusting relationships with those on our in-prison training courses while they are still in custody
    » Contact course graduates upon release to better understand their circumstances, needs, and aspirations and interests with regards to employment
    » Signpost graduates to appropriate services (e.g. substance misuse centres, family workers, debt advisors etc.) where necessary

    What success will look like

    150 ex-offenders who have been trained in prison re-engage with Blue Sky upon release

    Aim 2

    To match graduates who have been engaged upon release from prison with Blue Sky Agency jobs


    » Identify existing and new Blue Sky Agency jobs which need to be filled and establish whether these are appropriate for engaged graduates
    » Where graduates are interested in Agency jobs, conduct due diligence checks to ensure suitability for the role
    » Support graduates through the recruitment process for Agency jobs (e.g. applications, interviews etc.)

    What success will look like

    25 ex-offenders employed by Blue Sky Agency

    Aim 3

    To develop relationships and broker jobs with local employers


    » Identify and engage local employers and industries through marketing Blue Sky’s effective employment model
    » Support employers in understanding the needs of ex-offenders and identifying suitable job opportunities for this group
    » Provide employers with support and act as an intermediary to manage potential issues related to employing ex-offenders

    What success will look like

    25 ex-offenders employed by other companies within Blue Sky's network of employers

    Aim 4

    To provide in-work support to graduates to help them sustain employment


    » Maintain regular contact with ex-offenders in employment (through site visits and phone calls) to support them with any potential issues at work
    » Signpost ex-offenders to appropriate services (e.g. substance misuse centres etc.) to ensure that they can maintain a focus on keeping their job
    » Make ex-offenders aware of in-work mentoring and career development initiatives (such as Blue Sky’s training grants and interest-free loans)
    » Act as an intermediary, when necessary, between the ex-offender and employer to resolve any potential work-related issues before they escalate

    What success will look like

    50% of those employed sustaining employment for at least 6 months

  • Impact


    This project will contribute to a reduction in re-offending by supporting ex-offenders into work, enhancing their sense of self-worth and changing their attitude towards crime. It will enable more employers to recruit ex-offenders and increase the opportunities available to this group. We will demonstrate success by monitoring the number of ex-offenders supported into employment and their re-offending rate, and by surveying the employers we engage and their feedback on those employed.


    1. Failure to engage employers who will employ ex-offenders - our Employment Coaches will identify/explore a wide range of industries and companies to ensure that we can generate new job opportunities for the ex-offenders we support.

    2. Failure to engage ex-offenders upon release from prison - our Employment Coaches will engage beneficiaries on our in-prison training courses to develop a trusting relationship with them and ensure that communication is maintained upon release.


    All donors will receive quarterly email reports on the project’s progress and outcomes, including statistics, testimonials (from ex-offenders and employers) and case studies. We will also offer donors the opportunity to visit Blue Sky and see our community and prison-based projects in action.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £90,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £60,000 Salary costs Salary costs of two Employment Coaches to support 50 ex-offenders into and in work for one year
      £30,000 Salary costs Salary costs of a Trainer to run in-prison training courses for over 150 prisoners over one year
  • Background


    Blue Sky is based in Denham, West London but employs ex-offenders through commercial contracts in London, Thames Valley, Gloucestershire, East of England and the South East. We are also currently expanding our services into the West Midlands. Given the concentration of our jobs in London (around 50% of our forecasted 200 jobs in 2017/18 will be based in London), we will target prisons which will release graduates from our in-prison training courses to London.


    The primary beneficiaries of this project will be ex-offenders who have completed our in-prison employability training course and have been released from custody. Through securing and sustaining employment and building a positive future, the family and friends of these beneficiaries will also benefit from the project. Furthermore, the employers we engage will be able to add to their social value portfolio whilst benefiting from having a motivated and supported workforce.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Since 2005 we have employed over 1,400 ex-offenders with over 40% of these securing permanent jobs as a result of our support. Our model reduces re-offending by up to 23% (MoJ) and a recent analysis by Deloitte found that for every ex-offender employed by Blue Sky for 6 months we save the public purse an average of £18,600. This project will build on our success to date and ensure that a higher level of support is available to ex-offenders to find and sustain employment upon release from prison.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Malcolm Reilly

    Employment Coach: an ex-offender who has graduated through the ranks at Blue Sky and will support those released from prison and liaise with employers

    Gee Punia

    Head of Employability: a professional with over 25 years’ experience in welfare to work and will manage the Employment Coaches including Malcolm

"It's a no-brainer, really!" Steve Finn of Blue Sky on why it pays to hire ex-offenders