Mind the Gap is a ground-breaking project commissioned by CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) to help people with convictions get back into work.
Many employers report that they are struggling to fill vacancies due to labour, skill and talent shortages. With over 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record, this represents a vast potential talent pool, but some employers face challenges in accessing them. Many of these people may have committed fairly minor offences and have a wide-range of skills and abilities to offer. This project provides employers the resources, support and training to recruit serving prisoners, offenders on licence, and those with criminal records who want to work.
Mind the Gap currently provides training and support to over 400 businesses. It also provides meaningful work and training opportunities for people, both in custody and the community, throughout the construction sector. The project operates throughout England with a particular focus in London and South-East, Birmingham and West Midlands, Manchester and North-West.
Too often, employers shy away from taking a chance on ex-offenders because they think the risks outweigh the potential gains. The attitude displayed by organisations like Lendlease towards ex-offenders and their dedication to getting the right people – no matter who they are – to work for them is a breath of fresh air.
Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice at the 1st anniversary of Mind the Gap, House of Commons
Mind the Gap secures sustainable employment both during and after an offender’s release. The Mind the Gap approach begins with identifying the job vacancy and then works backwards to provide the appropriate training and support. This meets the needs of the individual and the employer. Throughout the three-year duration of Mind the Gap, the partners will continue to work together, alongside other key stakeholders to reduce the skills gap and reoffending rates.
Nacro developed the Mind the Gap Guide in consultation with the partners and key stakeholders. The guide supports employers in the construction sector to apply a ‘business as usual’ attitude to employing people with convictions.
The guide includes information on legal rights and responsibilities, and best practice when employing someone with a criminal record. It also includes how to implement fair, safe and responsible policies and practices for employing ex-offenders. The guide is based on a full understanding and assessment of risks involved.