Logistics company DHL, alongside retailers like Greggs and Iceland, ran ‘Unlocking Retail and Logistics’ events held in over 30 prisons across England and Wales to encourage ‘qualified prison leavers’ to fill vacancies in the retail and logistics sector.
This forms part of the government’s wider push to increase the number of prison leavers in employment, in an effort to reduce reoffending rates and boost the economy.
According to the Ministry of Justice, “ex-prisoners in steady jobs are known to be up to nine percentage points less likely to commit further crimes”. This is especially significant when you consider that the annual cost of ex-prisoners reoffending currently totals £18 billion.
In May 2023, DHL set up a workshop at HMP High Down, a prison in Surrey. Here, goods will be sorted and picked before being distributed to other prisons around the country.
Officially opening the workshop, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk MP KC, said: “Our drive to improve prison education and business links is helping cut crime, with more prisoners going straight into work on release than ever before.
“Helping reformed offenders kickstart a new, law-abiding career is a win-win – it makes our streets safer while providing businesses with the reliable staff they need to help drive the British economy.”
Government statistics show that the proportion of prison leavers finding work within six weeks of release has increased from 15% to 19% since April 2022, while the proportion of those working after six months has risen from 23% to 30%.
Shortages of staff in warehousing and logistics have been well-reported and have caused some issues within the supply chain in recent years. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that demand for warehouse staff in the UK rose by 43.2% at the end of 2022 when compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Schemes such as this, alongside the government’s investment in Generation Logistics to get more young people working in the sector, could play an important role in plugging employment gaps and building a stronger workforce for the future.
For more on recruitment and retention of staff, check out this feature from the May issue of Logistics Manager Magazine!