Leaders in the field of ex-offender recruitment, Offploy, will host a free-to-attend event designed to challenge perceptions and explain why it’s vital we break down business barriers to hiring people with convictions. The team at Offploy will be joined by keynote speakers from Virgin, Johnsons Hotel Linen, and City & Guilds Group who will each make the case for more inclusive recruitment practices.

Ministry of Justice (MOJ) figures show that, on average, only 17% of former prisoners manage to gain employment within a year of release – but those who do are up to 9% less likely to reoffend. Taking place on Tuesday 23 November between 10:00 - 11:30, the webinar will be led by those with first-hand experience of employing ex-offenders.

Hosted by Offploy – a not-for-profit organisation which supports people with convictions into sustainable employment – the workshop will see Matthias Stausberg, group advocacy director for Virgin, Sally Eley, foundation director at City & Guilds Group, and Rebecca Morgan, head of HR at Johnsons Hotel Linen, join Offploy’s founder (and former prisoner), Jacob Hill, for the 90-minute event.

“Reoffending rates currently cost the UK £18bn a year – but organisations could play a part in reducing that figure if they would only consider offering opportunities to those with an unspent conviction,” explained Richard Strauss, director of sustainability at Offploy.

“Recruitment is expensive - £2000 a head to advertise non-management positions, according to the CIPD. The ex-offender talent pool remains largely untapped, but if you know how to access it, the benefits for diversity, inclusion, and organisational capabilities can be transformative. Recruiting people with convictions has also been shown to improve staff retention, reduce staff absences and improve corporate social responsibility.

“What’s more, 92% of firms that employ ex-offenders report that it has enhanced their reputation – ultimately leading to more contracts.”

Julia Bena, community and networks manager at City & Guilds Group, added: "As employers, we have a moral obligation to help create a society that is fair and inclusive. Part of that must mean giving all people equitable opportunities to learn, develop new skills, and contribute in the workplace and their communities.

“There are many ways employers can get involved and support people with lived experience of prison into employment whilst making a positive impact on their business. Joining open conversations to explore our biases is one of them. The City & Guilds Foundation is committed to help challenge existing perspectives, share best practice from our network and offer guidance for organisations to improve their approach."

Richard Strauss concluded: “With UK job vacancies at a record high, competition is tough, candidates’ expectations are continually rising, and recruitment strategies are being revisited. So, if you want to attract a wider pool of applicants, foster greater staff retention, and have a genuine social impact, we’ll see you on 23 November.”

If you’d like to find out more or register for the event, you can sign up here.