Powerday has teamed up with social enterprise Blue Sky and HMP Onley to launch a construction industry employment scheme for ex-offenders based in London.

This partnership gives inmates from the Category C prison in Northamptonshire the opportunity to receive training and subsequent employment with Blue Sky and Powerday at construction sites across London.

The initiative sees Blue Sky and HMP Onley identify suitable candidates who will work towards their City & Guilds Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment to enable them to apply for a CSCS Labourer Green Card. After receiving onsite training and a final screening process with Powerday, successful candidates are offered a six month contract of employment with Blue Sky who will place them within Powerday teams on site. The first intake will be sited at Powerday’s long standing client, St George, part of the Berkeley Group. Blue Sky will provide ongoing support to candidates who, where demonstrating a strong work ethic, will be considered by Powerday for full time employment.

Blue Sky has employed and supported over 1,200 ex-offenders since 2005. A job has been found to reduce re-offending by up to 50% but in England and Wales 75% of all prisoners are released into unemployment with over 60% going on to re-offend within two years. This rate drops to 15% after working for Blue Sky.

The scheme not only benefits the ex-offenders but also Powerday’s construction clients who receive extensively screened, motivated and well trained local candidates with enhanced skills and knowledge around sustainable waste management.

Powerday previously ran a successful employment scheme, the KELP initiative, with social enterprise Kotuku which saw the leading London recycling company help over 100 candidates receive training and 90 candidates receive full time employment in the construction and waste industries between 2011 and 2015.

Simon Little, Sales & Marketing Director, Powerday says: “Powerday is committed to helping Londoners who might not have had the best start in life. We are delighted to be launching this scheme and fully expect it to be the first step on the road for our candidates to forge successful careers in the construction industry”.

John Chesters, Commercial Director, Blue Sky Development and Regeneration says: “It is only with the support and opportunities provided by companies such as Powerday and Berkeley Group that Blue Sky is able to achieve the results we do – helping an often marginalised group get their lives back in shape and become valuable members of their local community. This opportunity, supported by HMP Onley to find good candidates ready to enter the construction industry, will also mean Blue Sky are able to offer jobs in a new industry, extending the range of people we can support – reducing reoffending and making a real difference in people’s lives.”

Pete Middleton (Head of Reducing Reoffending ) HMP Onley says: “The partnership creates invaluable opportunities for prisoners to transform their lives by gaining the confidence and essential skills in the workplace which in turn prevents them from reoffending.”