Support services and construction company Carillion has announced its 200th "Ready for Work" graduate has found full time employment as part of its ground-breaking partnership with Business in the Community (BITC) to help people faced with homelessness.
The success underscores Carillion''s commitment to supporting sustainable communities, particularly during times of economic hardship when helping some of the most marginalised in society is most important.
It also reflects a changing role for business, where winning new contracts depends increasingly on a willingness and strategy to invest in social inclusion programmes.
Today''s milestone confirms Carillion''s position as the largest scale corporate delivery partner of BITC''s Ready for Work programme, offering more work placements than any of the other 140 companies supporting Ready for Work around the country.
Reformed heroin user and former homeless victim Jay, who has asked not to reveal his true identity, has become Carillion''s 200th success story to find permanent employment through the Ready for Work programme after being recruited by supply chain partner Lyndon Scaffolding.
The 32-year-old had a job in construction but lost it after falling into drug use. He said: "I don't know why I started, it just happened, I knew it was wrong but I just kept it to myself."
After being forced out of the family home and having to find somewhere to sleep wherever he could Jay decided to "sort his life out" and through will power and self determination was able to kick the habit. By ending that period of his life he was able to move back home and win back the support of his family.
After receiving initial training from Ready for Work managers he was accepted onto a work placement at Carillion in March this year. Ready for Work graduates are also helped into work by Carillion employees through one-to-one coaching.
His experience in construction, particularly his understanding of health and safety, made him stand out and he was actually able to teach the apprentices on site.
Jay has nothing but praise for Carillion and his work placement buddy Liam Johnson. He added: "Liam said to me I''ve seen what you are capable of. He saw what I could do and couldn''t believe I wasn''t already working. That really built my confidence. It''s good to hear others saying this is something that I can do."
In a double milestone Carillion has also just placed its 500th candidate in a work placement through the Ready for Work programme - providing the first step on the ladder back to full time employment.
Richard Howson, Chief Executive at Carillion, said: "Having created 500 work placements and seeing 200 people go on to gain employment is something we are incredibly proud of. Carillion is committed to supporting sustainable communities through programmes like this - it''s the right thing to do morally and for the business bottom line. Society expects businesses to engage fully at a community level and put simply will not tolerate contracts being awarded to those who fail to recognise this. When you hear Jay''s story it is crystal clear that BITC''s Ready for Work programme can fundamentally change lives for the better by helping people back into work and regaining their self esteem and place in the community."
Peter Lambert, Deputy CEO at BITC added: "I am very pleased to be able to celebrate with Carillion the significant milestones that they''ve achieved through their involvement in Business in the Community''s Ready for Work programme. Of the 140 companies working together to support disadvantaged groups into sustained employment, Carillion offered the highest number of work placements last year and contribute hugely to the national success of Ready for Work."
"The volume of placements offered by Carillion and the jobs achieved by programme participants as a result highlights Carillion''s commitment to embedding Ready for Work into their delivery of contracts. They have recognised that offering placements and employment for hard to reach groups benefits not only the local communities they operate in, but their own business and their suppliers too. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Carillion in the years to come; I hope to celebrate soon that another 200 people have gained work with Carillion's support."