Here at Refreshing a Career, it is our goal to help lift any obstacles to employment based upon stigmas. With over 11 million people having a criminal record in the UK, it is a widespread problem in which ex-offenders are persecuted by employers long after they have served their sentences.

Numerous studies have proven that ex-offenders who get a job after prison are less likely to re-offend. So, we see it as our job to connect you with employers who are willing to look at your skills and potential, not your past.

Employment is so integral for several reasons, and many of them are the same as for everyone: confidence, purpose, structure, and stability. However, for the formerly incarcerated, this takes on a new meaning.

The powerful structures around poverty in the UK can make finding economic independence a seemingly out-of-reach goal for many ex-offenders. Being able to structure their time productively, whilst having a stable income, removes a significant pull to being led astray.

In turn, there is no dependence on a community or network of individuals who resort to criminal activities. Instead, employment can provide an ex-offender with social relationships that can help to remodel their lives positively.

Arguably more important than anything else, having a criminal record and mistakes in your past is a heavy burden for many. This is especially so if the ex-offender is trying to rectify their past offences, but employers are unwilling to see the candidate’s present or future potential. Gaining employment has been found to do wonders for the mental health of the formerly incarcerated, providing a needed boost of self-esteem and self-worth.

Such changes have a positive effect on those around the ex-offender, in particular close friends and family. Being a positive influence on the individual’s close circle has been found to transform a person’s perception of themselves. Instead of recognising themselves as a negative influence, they can feel and act as a role model.

Making this transition, however, is far from easy. With the economic impact of automation and, now coronavirus, finding employment is not getting easier for anyone. Despite that, there are now a large number of organisations providing support both nationally and locally. To find out more, you should seek local support.

For some guidance on finding employment, you should read our dedicated page on getting back into work.

Could you help us to help you? We try our best to identify guidance and support individuals like yourself need, but sometimes we miss things. If you have an idea of a page or support tool that we could add to our site, click on our suggestion link at the bottom of the page. We would be more than happy to take on all of your feedback.