Ban the Box campaign celebrates its third anniversary by taking a youth focus

Business in the Community is using the third anniversary of its Ban the Box campaign to highlight the challenges of gaining employment for a young person with a criminal conviction.

Over the past three years, 75 employers have signed up to the campaign and removed the criminal record tick box from job application forms - taking the total number of jobs covered by Ban the Box to over 700,000.

Companies to pledge their support over the past 12 months include Virgin Trains, London ‘super-sewer’ developer Tideway, and the entire civil service, following an announcement by former Prime Minister David Cameron in February.

But as the government prepares to publish the findings of its recent Inquiry into the treatment of young adults in the criminal justice system, BITC is urging employers to think about the impact of the tick box on young people with convictions.

Youth unemployment levels have declined in recent years, but there are still over 400,000 young people in the UK looking for work. Research carried out in partnership with City & Guilds Group to support BITC’s Future Proof campaign, shows that young people are at a significant disadvantage in today’s labour market due to a lack of previous work experience, few professional contacts and confusing recruitment practices.

Young people with criminal convictions face a “double penalty” because many employers still adopt recruitment practices that filter out people with convictions.

In a snapshot survey carried out by BITC and Milton Keynes College at Glen Parva Young Offenders Institution, ‘having a criminal conviction’ was the most commonly cited barrier to work, highlighted by 63% of young offenders who took part.

Employment is proven to reduce re-offending by up to 50%. By removing the tick box from job application forms and giving young offenders a chance to find work, employers can play a vital role in keeping young people out of prison, and gain access to a large and diverse talent pool.

To help employers develop a fair and open recruitment policy that breaks down the barriers for young people with criminal convictions, BITC has launched a new resource.

Read the full press release here.