We’re celebrating today as the Ready for Work programme has reached its target of supporting 4,000 people into employment. That’s 4,000 lives that have been transformed through work!
“ Ready for Work has taken me from a place of total despair, a place of no hope, no dreams no aspirations, no goals, no future – and I don’t exaggerate at all – and it has propelled me to a place where not only are all those things present, but they’re flourishing. ”
Reaching this milestone is the result of a long-term partnership between Business in the Community, businesses and their employees, and community organisations - working together to help people to find a sustainable route out of poverty and disadvantage.
To mark this achievement, we’ve undertaken a photographic project highlighting some of the inspirational stories behind the programme. Captured by documentary photographer Alison Baskerville, 4,000 lives transformed is a collection of images and stories that celebrates the incredible impact of quality employment.
The Ready for Work programme was launched in 2001 with support from our President, HRH Prince of Wales. Since then, over 9,000 people have been offered training, work placements and ongoing support, with help from business volunteers every step of the way.
No two people on the programme are the same. Each faces a range of complex barriers to gaining work, whether that’s experience of homelessness or the care system, a criminal conviction, or mental health problems. Yet through Ready for Work, participants are able to build their skills and confidence and ultimately find a way back into employment. Bernie, a Ready for Work graduate who completed the programme three years ago summarises the impact of the programme:
“Ready for Work has taken me from a place of total despair, a place of no hope, no dreams no aspirations, no goals, no future – and I don’t exaggerate at all – and it has propelled me to a place where not only are all those things present, but they’re flourishing.”
However, it’s not only the 4,000 people who have entered employment who have benefited. The businesses involved have seen the effects too, gaining access to dedicated new recruits and opportunities to develop their existing workforce. David Picton, Chief Sustainability Officer at Carillion, explains how the business has benefited from being a national partner:
“Ready for Work is uniquely well-structured and extremely well-run. This programme has trained and equipped our job coaches to work with candidates, enabling us to offer over 1,100 work placements across services and construction contracts.
In turn, it’s brought some inspiring personal development for those job coaches, and brought new talent into our business that might otherwise have been overlooked.”
As the labour market continues to move towards more flexible, less secure forms of employment, the Ready for Work programme will continue to play a vital role in helping disadvantaged jobseekers to access good quality employment.
Ready for Work is supported by seven National Partners, including Accenture, Bain & Company, Barclays, Carillion plc, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Marks & Spencer, JTI and Sodexo. In addition, the programme has received close to £1m worth of funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery since 2015.
Image copyright: Alison Baskerville/Business in the Community