When hospital catering manager James was looking to fill vacancies in his team he opted to explore a less conventional recruitment route. James shares his positive experience of recruiting ex-offenders and why he would encourage other managers to follow suit.   

It was an HR business partner who first suggested I explore different routes to recruitment, specifically the possibility of employing ex-offenders. I was very open to exploring new avenues to find good people, and passionate about getting involved in this.  

We contacted Sodexo colleagues working in probation at South Yorkshire CRC with the relevant job descriptions and they then liaised with their service users.

We were able to offer two candidates full time roles in our catering team, assisting with food preparation, taking meal orders and responsible for general hygiene and cleanliness in the kitchens. They have picked up new skills too e.g. learning to drive the electronic vehicles we use to transport the meals around the large hospital campus.  

This recruitment route might be considered by some to be higher risk, but there’s a degree of risk with every new employee. I’m a great believer in rehabilitation and offering opportunities to those who have been in a bad place and want to improve their future. It’s good for the business to put something back into local communities.  

Both new recruits have fitted in fantastically and quickly proved to be responsible, loyal, hardworking members of the team. They’ve made a great start in what is a very dynamic, fast paced environment.   

I’m very happy to fly the flag for recruiting ex-offenders. My advice is simple: get involved; be fair; judge people on the work they do, not their past 

If you would like to work with Sodexo or find out more please visit https://uk.sodexo.com/your-industry/justice/partner-with-justice.html