Providing jobs for the socially excluded

The PM has leant his support to BeOnsite, a national not for profit organisation that addresses the skills shortage in the construction industry.

The Prime Minister yesterday leant his support to the second anniversary celebrations of BeOnsite, a national not for profit organisation established by Bovis Lend Lease to address the skills shortage in the construction industry, held at the Treasury.

Whilst not able to be there in person he sent a message of support to the scheme:

“Thanks to your efforts you are helping people turn their lives around by securing them apprenticeships and jobs and, most importantly, the chance to show what they can do.”

Since its launch in 2008, BeOnsite has worked in partnership with government, industry and local communities to train a number of people from all types of backgrounds, including those from socially excluded groups who normally would find it hard to find employment and to be given a second chance.

One success story is Meurika Stewart, an ex-offender with a history of drug abuse and crime.

Through a rehabilitation project, she took the opportunity offered by BeOnsite to learn new skills as a dry-lining trainee whilst still in prison and upon her release has continued in the job she had been doing for the previous eleven months, providing stability in a new and uncertain future.

Ms Stewart said BeOnsite gave her a chance and changed her life:

“Not a lot of people want to give you a chance but BeOnsite is not looking at the past, it’s looking at what, given the support, you can give in the future.

“For me personally I now see a light at the end of the tunnel. Having this opportunity has changed my life dramatically.

A number of other BeOnsite trainees attended the event where they spoke of their hopes and dreams for the future. Whether long-term unemployed, formerly homeless or with a prison record they were united in their determination to move forward with their lives.

Many are hoping to participate in a scheme that BeOnsite will be working on with the GLA to help change the lives of young offenders.

The facts on youth reoffending are that:

“The rate of re-offending for youngsters leaving custody stands at a shocking 75 per cent.

“This is coupled with the average of £55,000 that it costs to detain each young offender for a year. It makes sense both economically and socially to break young people out of the cycle of crime.”

The scheme will see BeOnsite providing young offenders with current BeOnsite ex-offender employees, like Meurika, as role models to offer in-work 1:1 mentoring pre and post release.

They will then be offered the structured, tried and tested BeOnsite entry into the industry which sustains employment through supporting and establishing routes to progression based on industry need.

BeOnsite works within the industry to identify the exact training needs of the individual contractor. It then sources both the funding and the training provider to deliver specialist training.

Successful candidates are then employed by BeOnsite to begin working on-site for the contractor, under their supervision, before eventually moving on to work directly in the supply chain.

Ministers Jim Knight from Department for Work and Pensions and Maria Eagle from the Ministry of Justice both spoke of the important need for BeOnsite’s work citing the value of peer mentoring and the need to unlock the potential of each and every individual whilst BeOnsite’s Managing Director Val Lowman ended the event by saying:

“We are so pleased to see BeOnsite succeeding in not only supporting the training requirement of the construction industry supply chain, but working to build a more diverse workforce and showing government a new way of tackling reoffending, city centre worklessness and the skills shortage.”

Our guest writer is Jessica Mellor-Clark, communications manager of BeOnsite

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