To mark the UK’s Ban the Box campaign opening up one million jobs to those with criminal convictions, Tideway is championing the initiative's economic and social benefits.
As a socially responsible project, Tideway seeks to give new opportunities to those who may have been marginalised by society and who struggle to gain new skills and find employment – including people with convictions.
Tideway became a 'Ban the Box' employer in August 2016, meaning potential candidates with previous convictions no longer had to declare this until they were offered the role.
This gives the candidate a fair opportunity when applying for a job. We know how important it is for people with convictions to have stability and employment in order to successfully transition back into society, so we began working with organisations such as Beonsite, Bounceback, Key4Life and Switchback to recruit new employees.
Julie Thornton, Director of HR, said: "As one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe, we have a duty not just to help clean up the River Thames but to also leave a skills and employment legacy for all Londoners, and for the construction industry.”
Senior Project Manager Kathryn Nethersole added: “We have had some real shining stars join our project, who have taken the opportunity to progress and be a part of a team – as a person and valued individual.
"They have gone above and beyond in their roles, showing commitment and determination to succeed and also showcasing a talent pool that every employer could benefit from by engaging with either ROTL (release on temporary licence) or direct employment.”
Tideway takes each individual on a case-by-case basis and focuses on what they aim to do in the future. An example of this is a person with a conviction, who was working in an unrelated field, was financially and emotionally supported through a qualification.
They have now passed and are seeking employment outside of Tideway in a finance-related role.
They said: “My kids can be proud of me now - I will forever be grateful to those who believed in me and gave me this opportunity."
After the closure of a charity that provided Tideway with more than 20 staff members, all of which were people with convictions or ROTL, Tideway and its main works contractors transitioned a large, vulnerable work force into permanent employment within the organisation – something no other organisation has ever done before.
One employee said: “When I was in prison I took every opportunity I could to improve myself. I left prison in September 2019 and I started work at Tideway the next day. A lot of companies judge you by what you’ve done, before even looking at what qualifications you have or what you can bring to the company. With Tideway, they don’t look at that. They just treat you like a normal human being."
In 2019 Tideway was highly commended for Corporate of the Year by the Corbett Network. Our work with people with convictions was also recognised by EFFRR for the work we have done to achieve our legacy objectives and we were recognised for the approach taken in engaging our main works contractors.
Working closely with the prisons, charitable organisations and the Skills and Employment team, Tideway and its MWC’s have employed 34 people with convictions since 2016.
These employees have had varied roles across the project including office- and site-based jobs. We champion the economic benefits of hiring people with convictions and continue to work with other organisations to do the same.