A MAJOR Hartlepool conference is on the way to explain to businesses why they should consider employing former criminals.
The 90-minute seminar titled A Chance 4 Change will be held at Hartlepool College of Further Education in Stockton Street, on Thursday, April 3.
It has been put together by the Hartlepool Business Forum and its aim, say organisers, is to “explode the myths of employing ex-offenders.”
The speakers for the event will include college assistant principal Andrew Steel, who is also the forum co-ordinator, Dr Sheena Maberly who is the head of learning for the southern cluster skills and employment section of North East Prisons.
The North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham will also speak and so will Darush Dodds, the programme manager of the Esh Group.
College assistant principal Andrew Steel, who is also the forum co-ordinator, said: “Every year, thousands of offenders undertake various training programmes to get employment upon their release.
“This training starts in prison and has led to an ever increasing number of organisations employing ex-offenders upon completion of their training with great success.
“Employing an ex- offender can benefit your bottom line as a business and also help to reduce re-offending.
“Over the last three years, 16 of the region’s top businesses have been working with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Business in the Community (BITC) on the Chance 4 Change (C4C) programme.
“This programme engages with offenders whilst still in custody to help them to develop employability skills, meet positive role models and instil community values.”
The conference starts at 4pm and companies wanting to attend should email JShepherd@Hartlepoolfe.ac.uk