The transport business part-owned by the billionaire entrepreneur has hired 30 ex-offenders over the past three years, and 25 are still employed by the firm in various roles.
Virgin Trains has launched a toolkit that offers advice to businesses seeking to employ individuals that have been found on the wrong side of the law. The firm said none of the former offenders it has hired has committed any more crimes.
Topics include things such as:
- How to provide ex-offenders the fresh start while protecting your business from risk
- How to best work with partners and prisons
- The practicalities of running a recruitment day
23-year-old Tammy Moreton from Birmingham is now an apprentice revenue protection inspector for Virgin Trains, having spent two years in and out of prison, in a job that sees her clamp down on fare dodgers.
“I thought I would spend my life in and out of prison. But bit by bit I decided to take matters into my own hands and turn my life around. I was incredibly proud when I was offered the apprenticeship at Virgin Trains and another chance at life,” Moreton said.
“Since being employed, my life has really changed; I’m now mentoring other ex-offenders to find employment too. I am determined to put my past behind me and embrace this new future.”
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Offering his thoughts on Virgin Trains’ initiative, Branson detailed: “Business must become a stronger advocate for rehabilitation. It makes perfect sense, as it increases the talent pool, reduces reoffending, nurtures entrepreneurial spirit, and contributes to safer communities.
“Ex-prisoners should have the chance to learn from the mistakes of their past, not be damned by them. I’m delighted that Virgin Trains has taken on the challenge of hiring ex-offenders so successfully. It was great to meet one of our employees from the scheme, Tammy, and see how well she is getting on in her role.”
The toolkit from Virgin Trains provides insights on the experiences the firm has had since introducing ex-offenders into the workplace three years ago, while explaining the impact they can have throughout the business on everyone from shareholders and MDs to HR departments and other peers.
Kathryn Wildman, lead recruiter for Virgin Trains on the west coast, added: “Our experience has been an entirely positive one and we are proud to be hiring ex-offenders because we want to get the best candidates, no matter what their background is. We’re looking forward to further expanding our programme to hire more.”