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Prosper 4 Group

Eleanor De, about 4 years ago

According to the Ministry of Justice, employment is one of the key factors in reducing re-offending. Individuals in employment are more than 50% less likely to re-offend than those who are not, however, only 26% of ex-offenders find employment following release from prison.

The benefit of more employment support for those leaving custody not only helps them rebuild their lives, but also helps to improve society by reducing crime. However, the broader economic benefit of this improvement is often missed. Prosper 4 Group is determined to show that employing ex-offenders not only makes sense from a social perspective but is a logical choice for businesses.

If you ask business leaders what issues most worry them, staffing is cited worryingly often. Over 2/3 of UK employers in primary sectors are facing staff shortfalls, and the high staff turnover across all sectors in the UK economy is driving a productivity slump. Indeed, it is estimated that nearly 1 million new staff members will be needed in the hospitality sector alone by 2020.

Prosper 4 Group was founded by Michael Corrigan with the aim of substantially increasing the number of ex-offenders who find employment.Michael himself is an ex-offender, but also has decades of director level experience in multi-national companies. This blend of personal and professional experience allows Prosper 4 Group to deliver services, to both businesses and individuals, from a unique position of understanding. Michael Corrigan explains that Prosper 4 Group view themselves as “the perfect partner for businesses looking to have a positive impact on society and solve staff issues they may be facing. Most importantly, we are a partner for people leaving prison to ensure they have the opportunity to make a fresh start".

Having started with a single project in HMP Brixton, which resulted in 200 people finding employment while in custody, they are now contracted by NOMS and a number of reform prisons to help find employment for ex-offenders across the UK.As a result, Prosper 4 Group has had great success in their first 3 years. This includes building relationships with 50 employers looking to employ ex-offenders, many of which are multinational corporations. They have also delivered a project across 6 prisons that will engage 1,700 prisoners, and have secured funding from the Teesside Reform Prisons to bring a professional focus to jobs, industry and enterprise.

They currently deliver work in three business areas:

1. Job brokering services:

- Helping businesses to identify where they require additional staff.

- Analysing P4G's database of candidates to provide a suitable match for the corporate clients in terms of skills and personality to provide a successful outcome for both parties.

- Providing full support through out the recruitment process, right down to initially interviewing and preparing candidates for their prospective employers.

2. Prison industries:

- Working with prisons to identify the most productive way to utilise prison industries.

- Allowing businesses to increase their production capacity and find new staff by tapping in to the growing hub of industry that is prison industries.-

3. Self-employment training:

- Running highly effective training programmes and business launch support, in custody and post-release.

- Prosper 4 Group also use their network of partner organisations to help find financial support for clients and supports training participants from idea development all the way to revenue generation.

Michael went on to say that “We (P4G) see the real opportunity of establishing prisons as 'future employment agencies' and training units for 'pre-apprenticeship programmes' in support of business needs for qualified staff. We feel that for businesses this is an opportunity to gain loyal and hardworking members of staff, all the while make a great social impact. Our focus is on being the partner that can help them do exactly this".

The next three blogs will explore the work of work done by Prosper 4 Group and its partners in more detail.