Organisational culture and values
We believe that any person – with the right support and opportunity – can create transformational and sustained change. We support people to develop new and positive stories about themselves to improve their health and wellbeing and journey to employment.
Real work lies at the heart of Blue Sky’s mission. We believe having a job can provide a purpose, identity, self-confidence as well as financial independence, structure and a chance to connect. Having a job is part of the journey, not the end point.
Our beneficiaries (ex-offenders) are at the heart of our organisation – over half of our full-time staff have lived experience of the criminal justice system and our social impact reporting allows us to be accountable to our beneficiaries as well as ensure their voice lies at the heart of what we do.
Key strengths: Impact
Job outcomes: Since 2005 we have employed over 1,300 ex-offenders, roughly the population of a large prison. Over 40% of employees have progressed to permanent jobs elsewhere, 4 times what the Government’s Work Programme achieved for prison leavers in 14/15.
Reducing re-offending: Ministry of Justice data shows that Blue Sky’s model of supported employment reduces re-offending by up to 23%, one of the highest performing interventions on record.
Economic value: For every ex-offender employed by Blue Sky for 6 months we save the public purse £18,600 on average in terms of lower court and prison costs, reduced unemployment (reduced benefit dependence/increased tax payments) and reduced substance abuse (reduced health expenditure). (Andrew Newell, University of Sussex, estimate based on Deloitte 2016 average economic savings.)
Challenging perceptions: Based on our track record of commercial partnerships to create jobs for ex-offenders, Blue Sky was chosen by the DWP as a key partner for its See Potential campaign to promote to companies the value of employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Theory of Change: We bring about profound and lasting change in the lives of our ex-offender employees. In response to the challenges of leaving prison, by offering direct employment, a real wage for a real job plus in-work support, Blue Sky gives ex-offenders financial stability, self-esteem, and purpose. We also open up new social networks and help enable a healthier lifestyle, all resulting in people achieving sustainable outcomes for them and their families. See our Theory of Change here.
Here’s what one of our prime provider partners say about us
“We at Kennedy Scott have worked very closely with the team at Blue Sky over the past few years and we have developed a strong working relationship with their team, which has been absolutely amazing and extremely efficient. We have worked together on a number of different projects to support ex-offenders on the Work Programme. They always go the extra mile to ensure that the ex-offenders do not re-offend, instead improving their lifestyles and achieving long-term benefits for society. Kennedy Scott has absolutely no reservations in recommending Blue Sky.”
Peter Bacon, Bid Director, Kennedy Scott Ltd (delivering welfare to work and employment training programmes since 1989)
Welfare to Work
Our award-winning model of direct supported employment for ex-offenders is a unique solution for prime providers of the Work and Health programme, with ex-offenders identified as ‘early entrants’ and is based on years of experience of recruiting, engaging and managing ex-offenders to achieve sustained employment.
With our merger partner RAPt we also offer end-to-end employability support combining evidence-based models for changing the behaviours of people with complex needs (substance misuse, offending), improving health and well-being, developing skills and confidence, and providing vocational training and real work opportunities.
Blue Sky has 12 years’ experience of working closely with the National Probation Service, HM Prison Service, Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), and Police Services – to recruit and support ex-offenders through employment.
We currently deliver work taster sessions and accredited short courses in 7 London prisons. We are a supply chain partner of The Shaw Trust in the delivery of NOMS-CFO 3, delivering supportive measures both in custody and in the community.
To find out more
Contact Carwyn Gravell, Development Director
“I had to lose everything to learn. I went in as an alcoholic and drug user. I did the 6 months Rapt course, studying Reiki, anatomy and physical anatomy.”
“I realise that it’s up to me whether I sink or swim.”
“It gave me the confidence to re-build my life on the work side, and I’m studying at the same time.”
“Blue Sky gave me the start that helped me take the next step. I want to maximise my potential.”
“Working for Blue Sky made me more determined, it’s changed my perception of life: it prioritised what’s important, and ultimately saved my marriage.”
“Being unemployed really didn’t help with my PTSD… my job here at Blue Sky has helped me stay sane.”
“I couldn’t find work; people judged me.”
“On my release, I felt disorientated and found it hard.”
“I had no confidence and felt overwhelmed.”
“Prison is no life for anyone and you don’t get help with anything.”
“3 years and I couldn’t get work.”
“It took a long time to get work – a long time – people just didn’t want to know.”
“I have managed to get an ongoing job with the company I worked for through Blue Sky: I have a future now.”
“Blue Sky changed things for me and supported me through it. I know others would benefit, but you do have to work hard to see the change.”
“I’ve started my own grounds maintenance business.”
“Getting my independence and pride and being a decent dad, earn my money for my girls, instead of living on benefits.”
“I’m happier in myself and I now give back to the community: I volunteer and pay my taxes.”
“I’m living an honest and healthy life: I’m a different person”