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Why young ex-offenders need employment opportunities

At The Skill Mill we want to help get as many young people that have been involved with the criminal justice system back into work as possible. We’re passionate about enabling young people to learn transferable skills that will set them up for the brightest future possible.

The work we do at The Skill Mill is vitally important because young people with criminal records face a number of barriers that makes it harder for them to compete for jobs with other applicants who have a more traditional work history. But without ever being given the opportunity to gain experience, young people that have been involved with the criminal justice system are stuck in a vicious cycle where employment seems impossible and the risk of re-offending is heightened.

A 2020 report by the Centre for Social Justice found that the employment rate for ex-offenders in the UK was around 27%, compared to 76% for the general population. The report also found that young ex-offenders faced significant challenges in finding employment, with only 17% of those aged 18-24 in work.

A survey conducted by the charity Unlock in 2020 found that 50% of employers would not consider hiring someone with an unspent criminal record, while 60% of young people with criminal records said they had been turned down for a job because of their conviction.

Another survey by the National Association of Probation Officers in 2019 found that 70% of employers said they would not hire someone with a criminal record, with many citing concerns about safety, security, and reputational damage.

That’s where The Skill Mill comes in, we work with employers to pair them with groups of young people that really bring value to their business. Businesses that can offer these young people a new career path and theoretically a potentially a new path in life.

There are many good reasons for getting young people involved with the criminal justice system back into work:

Reducing the risk of reoffending: Employment can provide young people with a sense of purpose, structure, and routine, which can help reduce the risk of reoffending. Studies have shown that ex-offenders who find employment are less likely to reoffend than those who remain unemployed.

Promoting social inclusion: By providing opportunities for young people with criminal records to participate in the workforce, we can promote social inclusion and help them become productive members of society. This can also help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with criminal records.

Economic benefits: Getting young people with criminal records into work can have economic benefits for both individuals and society. It can help them become financially independent and reduce their reliance on state benefits. It can also contribute to economic growth and reduce the costs associated with crime, such as policing and incarceration.

Building skills and experience: Employment can provide young people with the opportunity to build skills and gain work experience, which can help them develop their careers and improve their long-term employment prospects.

To find out more about The Skill Mill and the work we’re doing around the UK, click here or please email


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