Inmates to meet business leaders

Graham Willgoss

Ex-offenders charity the St Giles Trust has joined forces with the recruitment agency Talent for a project that will bring executives from companies such as Tesco and B&Q face to face with inmates at Brixton prison tomorrow.

The project is designed to tackle employer prejudice and misconceptions about prisoners. Under the guidance of staff and ex-offenders, inmates will discuss the problems they will face on leaving prison with managers and HR professionals from the visiting businesses.

Many ex-convicts do not have the qualifications, skills or recent work experience needed to gain employment. Others are homeless, in debt or have drug or alcohol dependency issues.

"We want employers to see that they are regular people who are generally not in for heinous offences," said Diane Gault, head of fundraising at the trust.

Mukesh Oza, head of marketing at Talent, said: "We want to encourage employers to look beyond the label, at what people are capable of. If they have a skills shortage they need to start looking for staff in a different way."

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