Blue Sky has placed 130 former offenders on various Veolia contracts since 2007.
In the past 12 months, 11 of the 130 employees were taken on full-time by the company once their Blue Sky contracts ended. Marguerite Ulrich, HR director at Veolia, tells MRW about the relationship
Why has Veolia chosen to work with Blue Sky?
Veolia only ever looks to partner with businesses that have integrity, believe in what they do and do it well. Blue Sky understands, as do we, the value of working with such individuals and understands the ongoing support that is needed.
What does Veolia gain from working with Blue Sky?
It gains breadth of candidate coverage across the UK, working with a like-minded business on supporting rehabilitation and reducing re-offending, support before recruitment has taken place and afterwards, a point of contact external to the business for the candidate, shared experience and best practice, and the creation of a flexible workforce.
What has Veolia’s overall experience been of working with Blue Sky employees?
Overall it has been a positive experience. This is something we want to support and believe in. You must create a relationship while some of the candidates are still serving a sentence so you can support them to be ready to work – this is of clear benefit to the business.
Is there any difference in attitude and standard of work between a Blue Sky employee and regular agency staff?
Yes, they are more grateful to be given a second chance and they are humble that somebody believes in them, perhaps for the first time ever. They do not want to let us, Blue Sky or themselves down. They are keen and eager to learn. They may need to be shown things in more detail if it is a first role for them, but they are normally respectful and disciplined for obvious reasons.
Are there any challenges to working with Blue Sky employees?
It can be a culture shock [for the exoffenders] – waking up without being woken up; working with a different peer group when sometimes they have been with very specific age groups; the hours can be long; and technology could have changed depending on [length of sentence]. But if we have recruited the right person, they make it work with us when coaching and supporting them.