‘Ciara’ has become a valued member of the Highways and Maintenance team after being given a three-month contract, which is likely to lead to a full-time position in February. Bev Giannoni, Employment Broker at Novus, and Heather Isadore, CVU’s Training and Equalities Manager, came up with the project after several meetings.
The programme offers ex-offenders a paid work trial for up to three months, while Apprenticeships are also available to those who wish to apply and meet the requirements. CVU employees from all departments have visited the Education department to assess potential candidates.
Novus identified Ciara as one of the learners who was motivated and job-ready. The CVU team interviewed her to check suitability for all of their business needs, from street works and Horticulture to business administration, and she was earmarked as a suitable candidate. When she completes her three-month role, a full-time contract will be offered if a position is available.
Ciara said: “Bev and the team from CVU came to see me in prison with job opportunities in administration and Horticulture. Having studied and gained qualifications in Horticulture I jumped at the chance as this was great for my self-esteem and confidence for the future.
“The interview process was extremely positive and I was supported with the paperwork throughout. I was working at CVU three weeks after my release and they were supportive with the time I needed to sort out personal circumstances. Bev helped me by contacting my probation officer in advance to discuss my job prospects.
“Going back to work was quite scary, but I knew I was supported every step of the way. I already feel like my life is back on track. Novus and CVU have given me the opportunity and confidence to succeed in my new life.”
Heather is very pleased with the way the arrangement with Novus is working. She said: “Working in partnership with Novus will ensure a fully-developed programme is in place for each candidate to succeed. CVU and Novus realise the business needs and prison system will not match on release – so extra support is required externally for any placement in terms of housing, bank accounts and rejoining everyday life.
“The added support provided by Novus and partner agencies leads to successful placements for candidates, knowing CVU gives the individual time to adjust and the help they need in those early months after release.”
Bev revealed that CVU’s visit to HMP Send was met with great excitement from learners and colleagues alike. She said: “We are delighted to be working with CVU, a caring and committed organisation which offers meaningful employment opportunities to our learners. We look forward to welcoming the team to HMP Send again in the near future.
“CVU has reported back that Ciara has great qualifications, a strong work ethic and very good social skills. She is already a very highly-thought of member of Highways and Maintenance as she mucked in straight away.
“There is no reason why she should not be offered a full-time contract, and there may also be promotion opportunities available to her in the future.”