A passionate endorsement from Richard Cowlishaw, Group HR Director at Clipper plc.
“I first got involved with Tempus Novo about 12 months ago and it’s been a huge education for me. I met Val who arranged to take me on a tour around Armley prison. It was a real eye-opener; I won’t ever forget it. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people coming up to me and talking about wanting to get out and be good citizens.
Clipper is a huge employer and it delivers to many high profile companies on dozens of sites all over the country. What’s right for us has to be right for our clients too. When we presented the idea to our corporate partners, we received a resounding ‘go for it’. We focussed on recruiting Tempus Novo clients to one particular site in our operation and to date, we’ve recruited over 20 people, 6 of whom have been with us for over 9 months. At one of our sites, we have 10 former offenders who’ve been released on temporary license and they’re doing really well. We are currently interviewing more former offenders for posts within Clipper and very much see our relationship with Tempus Novo as a long term one.
Because of the amount of support and pastoral care that ex-offenders receive from Tempus Novo, it makes an HR Manager’s job easy. Between our internal monitoring systems and the Tempus Novo case workers, we ensure that the workers are properly supported and engaged. This includes literacy and numeracy support. When you give someone a second chance, the impact is amazing. They’re grateful, humble and hardworking. In fact, former offenders are some of our best workers. We’ve seen first hand at Clipper that employment gives people the opportunity to escape from the vicious cycle of crime and re-offending. More than that even, it gives formerly marginalised people a daily routine, real purpose and future hope.
A University of Manchester study estimated that there are 11 million marginalised people in the UK. This number includes people with disabilities, physical or mental illness, older people and former offenders. At Clipper, I have established a programme called Fresh Start as part of our Corporate and Social Responsibility Programme. It focuses on giving employment to marginalised people in partnership with various charities including Tempus Novo.
Working with Tempus Novo and former offenders has completely changed my outlook. It’s eroded some conscious and, no doubt unconscious, biases. Prior to my engagement with Tempus Novo, I never would have thought that former offenders were a pool of workers I could go to for some of my labour. What would I say to others who were thinking of employing former offenders? I’d say come to Clipper and have a look. Let us show you what’s happening here. Talk to our managers about your concerns and allay them by seeing the many success stories.”