South Yorkshire prisoners offered pub jobs by Greene King to help rebuild lives at the end of sentences

South Yorkshire prisoners are being offered pub jobs to help them rebuild their lives when they are released at the end of their sentences.

Friday, 18th March 2022, 2:27 pm

Pub chain Greene King has employed a total of 100 ex-inmates since 2019, with 10 recruited in Yorkshire.

Known as its ‘Releasing Potential’ scheme, the aim is to give prison leavers a route into employment in the hospitality sector after leaving prison.

Those eligible for the scheme are prisoners who have served their time behind bars and those released on temporary licence as part of their resettlement back into society.

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Ten prisoners from HMP Doncaster have been offered jobs by the Greene King pub chain to help them re-build their lives

In the first year of the scheme, 28 prison leavers were offered Greene King jobs and the company now has links with over 35 prisons, including HMP Doncaster.

Applicants can join Greene King in a number of roles, including kitchen posts, serving or hotel housekeeping.

Andrew Bush, chief people officer at Greene King, said: “We understand that everyone has a past, but regardless of background we want to help people build a successful future in the hospitality industry.

“We recognise the importance of social mobility and our role in supporting it. Releasing Potential isn’t just a one-off drive to help prison leavers, it’s a key focus for our business that will continue to grow and expand, supporting those in the prison system on their journey to a successful rehabilitation. We’re pleased that 100 prison leavers have already joined the Greene King family and look forward to welcoming many more successful applicants in the coming months.”

One current employee, who wishes to remain unnamed, said: “I joined Greene King Releasing Potential prison leaver scheme, whilst in custody and I was anxious and nervous about what I was going to do after my release, how people would react to an ex-offender and how people would prejudge me. I had already written myself off, thinking no-one would be willing to give me a second chance.

“I welcomed the offer of a kitchen role by Greene King, I had no hospitality experience but was keen and eager to learn, valuing not only the job offer but the opportunity to turn my life around.

“The positive impact of my employment with Greene King has been that I have learned new skills and currently working towards a Level 2 Kitchen apprenticeship. I have also positively reconnected with family and adjusted back into society.”

Currently, upon release, prison leavers receive a discharge grant of £76.

Greene King says that in many instances, once travel back to their former hometown or city is paid for, as well as basic amenities, this leaves many with almost no funds to restart their lives.

Greg Mangham, founder and CEO of the Only A Pavement Away charity, said: “The work Greene King is doing is really making a difference. Our data shows that out of 70,000 prison leavers released each year, just 15 per cent are in P45 employment one month after release.

“In total, re-offending costs the taxpayer £18 billion each year and to make things even more challenging for prison leavers, 50 per cent of employers currently reject someone if they have a criminal record. So getting a job is crucially important and we know that a prison leaver who has a steady job is 87 per cent less likely to re-offend.”