‘People can make mistakes,’ said Bob*. ‘It’s what you do after here that matters, not how you got here.’
Bob is attending our Employability Programme at Arnotdale House, Falkirk. The programme was established in partnership with the Falkirk Criminal Justice and Employment Training Unit to help people with criminal convictions get back into work.
Many of the participants in the programme are people who have been given Community Payback hours as part of their sentence and can offset the time they spend at the programme against their payback order.
However, Bob is attending the programme voluntarily following a suggestion from his social worker.
‘I was made redundant in my fifties,’ explained Bob, who left school at 16 but went on to gain two degrees and traveled nationwide for his work. Now he is hoping to gain valuable skills in order to find another job and rebuild his life.
‘The thing I find really helpful about the programme is the one to one sessions,’ said Bob. ‘I really need help with my interview technique and my CV doesn’t read particularly well so I thought this would be a good thing to do.’
The programme consists of six day-long sessions spaced over a six week period. It’s an open programme which means participants can join at any point and don’t have to wait until one course finishes and the next begins. The idea is to give people the training, skills and confidence they need to find work again after being part of the criminal justice system.
‘Everyone needs assistance, it’s just a question of working out what assistance would be most useful,’ said Bob who worked for an engineering company. ‘It’s really important that people don’t make judgments before knowing the full story. Nobody is born bad.’
People attending the programme learn new skills and gain self confidence so that they can get their lives back on track. CV writing, job search techniques and how to write criminal disclosure letters for future employers are part of the subjects covered.
*Names have been changed to protect clients’ confidentiality.
For 50 years we’ve journeyed with thousands of people like Bob in tough realities, helping them transform their own lives for themselves, but there is still much to do.
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