Starting again after twenty years in prison

"I already had skills but I needed a platform to get a job, with being in prison for so long."

Ryan had spent approximately 20 years of his life in prison. With support from his probation services on release he found work on a construction site. But after he was laid off when he broke his hand, he struggled to find another job. Having been unemployed for over a year and willing to try anything to overcome the barrier of his criminal convictions and start work again, Ryan took part in Ready for Work. He spoke about his experiences:

“I already had skills but I needed a platform to get a job. With being in prison for so long, I had completed so many courses to improve my employability but I never really had a job. I wouldn’t have got work through just handing in my CV – without the programme I wouldn’t have been seen.

I needed confidence because I know that people prejudge me because of the time I spent in prison.

- Ryan,
Ready for Work Graduate

The Ready for Work programme was like full on work when we got to go on a work placement. It was voluntary and unpaid but I did it thinking of the future – I knew I needed the opportunity to show what I could do.

After my placement I was offered a job on the site. I was really pleased to get the job. I thought it was a mistake when I first saw what my payslip said! It was much better than I thought.

I want to consolidate my job with more tickets [a system providing proof of completion of training to work with different machinery and in different ways on a construction site] and more skills now. When you have all the tickets, they look for you, you don’t have to look for the job and that’s where I want to be in the future.

I needed confidence because I know that people prejudge me because of the time I spent in prison. The business volunteers I met through Business in the Community didn’t prejudge me though. I needed an opportunity like this to overcome my criminal convictions and get the job I’m in now.”