Page 48 - Farm labour in the UK
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Another respondent believes that such a situation should be dealt with on a case by case basis.
“They said ‘we’re gonna be doing this and everybody please be on board’ and lo and behold everybody was. It was a huge success. We’ve just done it now for such a long time, it’s so embedded in our culture, it’s completely normal. We very, very carefully choose the right people. So, these people just come in and just slot right into our business. We don’t hear a peep out of them” (Ex- offenders 2)
For initiative operators wanting to facilitate, or farmers considering, the employment of ex- offenders, a number of factors require consideration. These include:
➢ Attempts to employ ex-offenders would benefit from the aid of an experienced facilitator (unless the employing business is large and has the resources to specifically recruit and train prisoners).
➢ Establishing a good relationship with the prisons involved is crucial.
➢ Beginning the process long before individuals are due to leave prison is helpful.
“The idea is your farm if you like or your transition, whatever it was, would be not just starting from the moment they walk out, but beginning that work inside and that is critical for two reasons. One is you want to kind of know your people. You want to have a sense of risk and capability and so on, but the other part is you have to have the prison on board, you know? Prison governors are extraordinarily powerful” (Ex-offenders 1)
➢ Prisoners need assistance with other aspects of their transition over and above simply being provided with employment.
➢ Being up-front from the beginning as to what the job entails and terms of pay and conditions.
“I think that real clarity managing expectations on both sides so everyone is really clear. [Meaning] there is a job description and people know what they are coming out to, they know how much money there is, people know what the progression is” (Ex-offenders 3)
➢ Career progression should be offered where possible.
➢ Buddy systems are useful if planning to employ more than one ex-offender.
“They have got buddying systems where, when people come out, one of the guys on-site will look after them and make sure that they are okay, and they know how to deal with people from disadvantaged groups or prisoners or anything else” (Ex-offender 3)
➢ Introducing employers to prisoners prior to release, as well as to other farm businesses already employing ex-offenders or prisoners. The latter point is particularly relevant as peer-to-peer sharing is extremely important in agricultural circles.

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