Sustainable Employment

By Guest Blogger

Paul Crilly, Managing Director NJC

As the UK approaches the threshold of full employment, finding employees with the correct attitude and skills is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses. The remaining pool of talent is often represented by those who are furthest from the jobs market, including school leavers, the long term unemployed and those coming through rehabilitation programmes. These people often need help not only in finding work, but support during the transition as they start a new job and help to increase their skills so they can stay in work and move up the ladder. They also need patience and emotional support from their employer.

NJC (Not Just Cleaning Ltd) specialises in providing high quality cleaning services in London and the South, working at many prestigious buildings, and is committed to accessing this resource pool. With London increasingly becoming a vertical city, and more and more skyscrapers being built, the need for window cleaners trained to work on major buildings is increasing. Understandably, this is a career that requires specific skills and training, as well as a head for heights, and is hence well rewarded.

This year, NJC partnered with Landsec and London-based charity Bounce Back, to launch the UK’s first aerial window cleaning training academy at Her Majesty’s Prison & Young Offender Institution Isis, backed by the Ministry of Justice. This required a lot of planning and preparation, including the installation of equipment at the prison and train the trainer sessions. Offenders nearing release have the opportunity to participate in initial training, covering window cleaning skills, equipment use and health and safety. On release, further training on rope access (abseiling) skills and the use of access equipment is available, with NJC supporting the participants to find suitable employment.

NJC already has already had positive experience in this area, having provided an ex-offender with an opportunity some years ago. The gentleman enjoys window cleaning at height and working at NJC and has worked his way up to become a team leader.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that offenders who secure employment upon release are much more likely to turn their backs on crime, making our society and communities safer. However, at present, however, only 17 per cent of offenders are employed one year after release. Bounce Back has already helped over 1,000 people through its various programmes across five London prisons and local communities and the charity’s programme has a re-offending rate of less than 12%.

There are many aspects to sustainability and we believe that breaking down barriers that prevent people from finding employment is a core one, which sometimes does not receive as much as focus as it could. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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