The award presented last night at the Hilton London Bankside acknowledges a partnership between Blue Sky, a social enterprise that reduces re-offending through employment, and Veolia, an environmental services provider, helping ex-offenders to lead crime-free, purposeful lives by offering a first step on the employment ladder.
The partnership has now employed over 220 ex-offenders in 6 years as part of Veolia’s local authority contracts in Basildon, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Dover, Ealing, Haringey, Kingston, Lambeth, Richmond, Rushmore, Watford and Westminster. Only 7% of those employed have re-offended, eight times less than the national average.
Kate Markey, Blue Sky MD said: “This award is testimony to the hard work and dedication of Veolia’s local contract managers and Blue Sky’s frontline staff working together to make every opportunity count for ex-offenders. And it shows the vision and values of Veolia’s leadership in working with a social enterprise such as Blue Sky as part of it supply chain. We look forward to building on our partnership with Veolia in new locations and in new sectors, creating even more opportunity for ex-offenders.”
Established in 2005, Blue Sky is “the only company in the country where you need a criminal record to work there” (PM David Cameron). Having a job reduces re-offending by up to 50% yet 75% of prisoners are released to unemployment. Blue Sky creates job opportunities by offering companies an alternative to high-street labour agencies within their supply chains in sectors such as grounds maintenance, waste management and distribution. Contracted by companies to supply labour, Blue Sky employs ex-offenders for 6-months, provides training, and brokers onward jobs. Blue Sky employs up to 200 ex-offenders every year. Over 40% of those employed by Blue Sky move on to permanent jobs elsewhere, many with commercial clients such as Veolia.
Robert Hunt, Executive Director of Business Development at Veolia said: “Veolia is proud to support Blue Sky and the fantastic work it does. We are touched by this award and the recognition for our work alongside Blue Sky to get people into the world of work. The important thing is to carry on engaging with ex-offenders to give them a second chance and help with their future careers.”
Veolia is the UK leader in environmental solutions, providing waste, water and energy management services. It won the Queen’s Award for Innovation in Sustainable Development in 2014 and was praised for its community initiatives including the Blue Sky partnership.Veolia employs c14, 000 people and has committed to recruiting 10% of new employees from marginalised groups which include ex-offenders. This represents a major commitment from the company.