By Dr Di van den Broek, Board Member of Success Works Partners
Alice* applied for yet another job, her 16th since her release from prison two years ago. After she left prison Alice was determined to participate fully in her community and in a workplace. She tells her potential employer that she has a criminal record and she has served her time.
She doesn’t get the job.
Success Works Partners believes that Alice, and others facing similar barriers, should not have her future determined by her past. We believe that Alice should be given the same employment opportunities others enjoy.
This is not just about the importance of forgiveness, it’s also about the need to provide women, such as Alice, with a genuine opportunity to participate in work, to be included.
Women leaving custody face numerous and intersecting barriers to accessing work. The NSW State Government have also identified the problem. In 2019, the NSW Premier set out new social priorities to reduce adult re-offending following release from prison by 5% by 2023.
Given that the two main factors that determine reoffending are homelessness and unemployment, we believe that the Alices of the world deserve better employment opportunities than they currently receive.
Success Works provides important resources for employers who also want to make employment more inclusive for these women. We are a unique service in New South Wales because we are staffed by women with lived experience.
We provide women with valuable workshops and one-on-one support facilitating work readiness and resilience as well as providing each woman with a mentor who assists with further confidence building, job applications, and successful integration into their new workplaces.
We are also unique in that we build a direct relationship between the women and the employer through services and support.
Becoming a Success Works Partners Employer gives you the opportunity to help keep a woman out of prison, transform her family relationships and help to break the intergenerational cycle of deprivation and crime.
You become part of a growing number of best-practice business leaders who have pledged to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to connect with other local community partners to identify talent which is often overlooked
Most importantly you have become part of a community of employers who have helped to break down barriers to employment for women affected by the criminal justice system
Given the tight labour market many are facing now, and the pressing need to reduce female recidivism, signing up to be an employer sponsor with Success Works Partners makes clear business sense, as well as supporting social imperatives to break the cycle of disadvantage and discrimination.
*Name changed for confidentiality reasons.
This article was originally published by Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and has been reproduced with permission.
If you are a potential Employer, contact us to discuss the role you might play in helping a woman with a criminal record gain employment.
We are currently looking for new Employers. Could you change a woman’s life?