In a new initiative to address the industry’s skills gap, national construction and engineering firm NM Group (North Midland Construction Plc) has launched a training programme for ex-offenders.
Providing the skills and opportunities needed for people to turn their lives around, NM Group has helped develop a training academy and CV writing workshop in partnership with HMP Ranby, a category ‘C’ prison in Nottinghamshire and Milton Keynes college.
A long-time advocate of building the industry’s workforce skills, NM Group first began looking at the idea of retraining ex-offenders in 2016 after a visit to HMP Nottingham, organised by Business in the Community (BITC).
Latest figures from the Ministry of Justice revealed that just 17% of offenders are in full-time employment one year after their release, whilst £15 billion is spent annually on associated reoffending costs1.
Karen Morris, HR Director at NM Group, said: “The initiative is offering training and employment opportunities for skills that are very much needed by the construction industry. We believe we can make a real difference, not just to the lives of former offenders, but also our industry, supply chain and the employment economy.”
Following a team-building day with NM Group, including a ‘dragon’s den’ style interview session, candidates are selected for the training programme based on their behaviour, values and attitude and not whether they have previous construction experience.
They then embark on a 12 week, NVQ Civil Engineering Level 1 course. Our Health and Safety Manager holds a workshop on behavioural safety and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards are also attained. After completing the programme, successful candidates are offered a job interview with NM Group, which can lead to a full-time position with the company upon their release.
Morris added: “We have a learning culture at NM Group, with training and personal development a theme throughout our business. It is great to see the enthusiasm of the those taking part in this programme. Some have never had a job, while others are building on existing construction skills. We have seen a real change in individuals, with confidence and skillsets growing throughout the duration of the course.”