“It is very welcome news that the UK Government has expanded its programme helping prisoners get back into work after release. Just 17% of the 70,000 ex-offenders released from prison each year are on a payroll within 12 months which, in light of our severe skills shortages, is a concerning number. The hospitality sector is already helping hundreds of prisoners rehabilitate through work and this will help other industries follow suit. Our sector has proved that, with the right systems in place and charities like Only A Pavement Away, employers can rethink recruitment and help to plug the skills gap whilst also enabling ex-offenders to avoid committing another crime.
“A third of hospitality businesses already have support programmes in place and 81% of hospitality employees say they’ve worked alongside ex-offenders and are comfortable doing so. The Ivy, Franco Manca and Social Pantry have all led the way in progressive hiring and you can see why - 72% of customers say they would be more likely to visit a restaurant if they knew it helped support ex-offenders get onto the career ladder. It’s time we put stigma behind us.”