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Getting ready for employment and finding a job can be challenging for a young person leaving custody. A recent HMIP report  showed that nearly half of the lads in Young Offender Institutions that they interviewed, reported they would have a problem getting a job on release. Absences from school either due to truancy or exclusion, coupled with, in many cases, coming from families with generational unemployment, means that although they may want a job, navigating their way into the word of work can be tricky.
In fact, difficulties in getting a job may have contributed to offending behaviour in the first place. As Harry said:
“I didn’t really know how to get a job. There were no one really at that time to help me get a job. The people I was seeing round me who had money, were getting it through selling drugs and burgling houses and that’s just what I thought was normal.”
Having the opportunities for training and learning new skills is so important in opening up the way for employment. For young people leaving custody, having a job can help keep them from homelessness and ‘sofa surfing’, poverty, and ultimately returning to offending behaviour.
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In2Out mentors can help participants in our resettlement programme with writing CVs, job searches, and practising interview skills. This is how we were able to help Jimmy:
Jimmy asked for support from In2Out as he recognised he needed help to change and make a fresh start. Initially, his main goal was to find employment so he could spend his time in a more meaningful way. In2Out supported Jimmy through this process, helping him write a CV, finding and completing job applications and practising interview techniques. With our support, and through determination and hard work, Jimmy managed to secure a place on an apprenticeship, which he really enjoyed. After a year ‘on the out’ Jimmy said with a big smile on his face, “This time last year, when I was released from prison, I really thought I would have been back in by now.”
As well as helping to match lads to appropriate training and skills-based learning, In2Out often helps out with the costs of ID, tests and certifications. Most importantly of all, In2Out mentors are a friendly voice at the end of the phone offering encouragement and listening when things maybe aren’t going so well.
Mitch regularly met with his mentor over the 6 months leading up to his release. From the off he was motivated and determined to find work on release and earn money to support his family, as well as gain his driving licence.
However, over the months his mentor could see a dip in Mitch’s mood as he was getting knocked back from job applications and there was a growing disappointment that he was not finding work as quickly as he had hoped. His mentor helped him with updating his CV and a covering letter until a fantastic opportunity came up at a charity we are partnered with, reaching out to those with convictions. His mentor went with him to meet the team and discuss the opportunity. Mitch was reluctant at first however, after meeting various people, he decided to apply for the apprenticeship which will give him an NVQ in General Construction. His mentor says: “I was able to visit him on site before lockdown and he was loving it. His manager was clearly impressed with him. Hopefully there will be employment for him once his training has finished.”
 HM Inspectorate of Prisons. Children in Custody 2017-2018. An analysis of 12-18 year-olds’ perceptions of their experiences in secure training centres and young offender institutions.