Recruitment director takes up role at Bristol Prison

A director with recruiter Acorn by Synergie, has been appointed as chair for the employer advisory board (EAB) at Bristol Prison.

The boards work with prisons to ensure training programmes and prison workshops are geared to local employment needs so offenders stand a strong chance of finding meaningful employment on their release.

The role is a natural fit for Lawrence Beach, who has been instrumental in championing the availability of sustainable job opportunities for under-represented groups in recent years.

His work to date has included overseeing the launch of Acorn by Synergie’s own Reconstruct programme to help people with convictions find work in the construction industry, and working with partners including homeless charity The Wallich as well as three Welsh prisons and HMP Bristol.

In his new role as EAB chair, Lawrence will now be assisting Bristol Prison directly in creating a network of employers who can benefit from supporting prisoners upon their release, and also finding ways in which the prison can create further provisions to support employer needs as part of the New Futures Network.

Lawrence, who was appointed as part of a nationwide EAB network made up of influential business leaders, said: “We’ve worked really hard as a leading recruiter in the UK to open up the conversation around the rehabilitation and employment of people with convictions in recent years – both in terms of how beneficial it is for candidates, but also to employers too.

“Innovative thinking has a large part to play in achieving success in the recruitment industry but, more than that, it is our responsibility as professionals operating within the sector to support as many people as we can in finding employment that will be beneficial to them, the organisation involved, and ultimately society and the UK economy as a whole.”

The New Futures Network is a specialist part of HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) which attracts and supports employers to work with prisons in England and Wales and assists prisons to create systems and infrastructure that can help more prison leavers find employment.

Employment Advisory Boards were launched under the scheme to advise, support and challenge prisons on their training and employment offer to prisoners and prison leavers, and are a key part of the HMPPS strategy to get more prisoners into employment on release,

The boards currently cover 92 prisons across England and Wales, with each one chaired by a business leader from companies including Lotus Cars, Sodexo and now Acorn by Synergie too, in partnership between HMPPS, New Futures Network and The Timpson Foundation.

Duncan O’Leary, chief executive of New Futures Network, said: “Statistics show us that finding employment within 12 months of release can significantly reduce the chances of prison-leavers re-offending, and provides them with an income but also a means of contributing positively to their families and communities too.

“It also benefits employers who are able to secure committed and skilled people to help fill gaps in our economy, something Lawrence in his role with Acorn by Synergie has recognised and champions, working towards increasing awareness of employing prison-leavers within the UK recruitment industry.”

“Among other things, his work in bringing the recruiter’s Reconstruct programme, which already helps people at HMP Bristol and three prisons in Wales equip themselves with the skills they need to re-enter the world of work, made him an ideal candidate for the role of EAB chair. We are really looking forward to seeing what more can be achieved with Lawrence’s expertise on board.”


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