Viridor Waste Management has launched a scheme with the Probation Service across the south west of England designed to help ex-offenders get employment.
The excel (XL) project is helping Viridor to meet its labour requirements, and it aims to support 850 people to enter further study or sustainable employment across Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the west of England.
A Viridor spokeswoman said: Interest in working with the Probation Service comes right from the top at Viridor. The resource management sector is expected to be short of human resources in the next few years, and is in need of a good, sustainable source of employees.
The scheme has its first employee, Jamie Lye, who has been taken on at Viridors recycling and waste transfer station based at Filton. Lye has been employed as a full-time recycling operative after being in and out of prison for 16 years for drug-related offences.
Lye said: Viridor has given me the opportunity to get back into work and learn new skills that will allow me to move my life forward towards a positive future. Ex-offenders can experience discrimination during the interview process and this scheme puts us on equal footing with others, offering us a clean slate and training opportunities.
Project XL ends in Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire at the end of July but will continue in Devon and Cornwall.