A Job offer from national hotel chain Premier Inn is helping Andrew to go straight.
Andrew*, aged 23, from Southampton has a new focus thanks to paid employment with Premier Inn. He was put forward for a work trial by his Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) case manager, Allison. Andrew is managed by the CRC whilst on licence since leaving prison in February 2017 after serving half of his four-year sentence for theft.
The young man admits that he was a ‘prolific offender’. Andrew was first arrested at the age of 15 for stealing, and progressed from petty crime to major business thefts. Andrew felt that he only knew how to get by through crime, and many of his friends were involved in a criminal lifestyle.
Allison said: “Andrew has done really well. I knew he was worried about his criminal conviction and being judged, but he also has a positive attitude. I’ve always seen a lot of potential in him. His enthusiasm and ambition to get into employment has been rewarded.”
In the past, Andrew had been reluctant to work with agencies. He explained: “Before I met Allison, I thought probation officers were threatening and focussed on sending me back to prison.”
However, Andrew began to trust his new case manager. He said: “Allison is really down to earth, I could tell that she wanted to help me become a better person, rather than send me back to prison. I said that I wanted paid work, and she found an opportunity for me. I always wanted a job, but I didn’t think anyone would employ me because of my record.”
“Allison spent time with me at my appointments, sometimes over an hour. We spent each meeting looking for a job. At one session, she told me about the job trial at the Premier Inn, arranged through Saints for Sports.”
During the job trial, Andrew spent two weeks on the hotel reception. He was keen to learn and within five days had picked up most of the computer systems and check-in processes. Andrew was also mentored by an experienced member of the reception team.
“I enjoy working with people. It’s fun to talk to people who’ve travelled from the US, Canada and other countries. I do long shifts on some days but time goes quickly.”
After a two-week trial, Andrew was offered a part-time job by the manager, but the 20-hour rota swiftly became 38 – 40 hours with overtime. Andrew appreciates the things he spends his money on now that he knows how much hard work goes into earning his wages.
Andrew explained: “It was new to me, being at the hotel and speaking to people without having my guard up. My phone book was full of contacts involved in crime but I’ve let go of these old associates. Now I’m focused on working hard and going to the gym. I’m also saving up, so that one day I can start my own gardening maintenance business.”
Premier Inn’s partnership with Saints for Sports offering work placements has been running for seven years and has led to several appointments including senior managers.
Premier Inn Operations Manager, Edd Bolton said: “As a company and personally, we are passionate in the support of getting people back to work that have experienced difficulties in their lives and giving them the opportunity to reintegrate in society with confidence of employment.”
*name has been changed