An employment scheme creates brighter futures for people with criminal records

4 February 2021

A programme to support Brent residents with criminal convictions into work has helped boost their employment opportunities.

The Bright Futures scheme has supported 45 men and women, who have been through the criminal justice system, since its launch in June 2019. Brent Council successfully secured £100,000 in funding from the Department of Work and Pensions to pilot the programme, which was delivered by The Forward Trust.

Bright Futures has enabled 25 people to interview for jobs across the hospitality, retail, social care, facilities management and construction services. More than half the candidates remained in their roles for six months or longer. Other people engaged by the programme were supported with employment skills and mentoring in order to help prepare them for the world of work.

Cllr Thomas Stephens, Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills, said: “There are lots of obstacles stacked against people with criminal convictions, which reduces their chances of earning a living and could lead to re-offending. That’s bad for them and society at large. But Bright Futures has shown how we can change lives for the better by giving people a chance, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed, and getting employers on board.”

The employment programme also offered clients support with welfare checks, access to food banks, debt advice, mental health services for those struggling with anxiety and stress during the lockdowns.

Asi Panditharatna, Forward Trusts’ divisional director of employment services, said: “The Bright Futures programme was our first employability support project with a local authority partner. Its positive impact demonstrates that by providing support to clients we can raise their aspirations and confidence to access sustainable work and exciting career pathways.”