Chief Executive Jocelyn Hillman founded Working Chance from her kitchen
table in 2009, inspired by the talent and potential of the young women
she had met in women's prisons across the UK. She saw that many women continue
to be stigmatised and overlooked after their release from prison. With
little or no support to find a job or learn new skills, they remain
trapped in a cycle of poverty and crime. Jocelyn wanted to change
this and started cold-calling businesses to try and get them to rethink
their attitude towards hiring women with convictions.
Since then, Working Chance has grown into an award-winning charity and is the UK’s only specialist recruitment consultancy for women trying to leave the criminal justice system.
So far we have helped secure over 1,350 work placements for the women we support.
We now operate in communities and prisons across London and the South-East, and our Manchester office operates across the North of England and the Midlands. We also run the first recruitment office inside a UK prison at HMP Downview in Surrey, staffed by serving prisoners who have received specialist training.
In 2015, we identified a ‘care-to-prison’ pipeline, with one-third of women prisoners in the UK having previous contact with the care system. We decided to expand our recruitment services to young women leaving care, to help them make the transition into the world of work and to try and reduce the number of women entering the prison system.
Our aim is to continue to spearhead a revolution in restorative recruitment. We are determined to keep finding new ways to change attitudes among employers and give women the chance to cross the social divide from lives of exclusion to lives of contribution.