Working Chance was founded by Jocelyn Hillman from her kitchen
table in 2009, inspired by the talent and potential of the 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 a multi-award-winning charity and is the UK’s only specialist recruitment consultancy for women trying to leave the criminal justice and care systems.
So far we have helped secure over 1,750 work placements for the women we support.
We now operate in communities and prisons across the country. We 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 to give women the chance to cross the social divide from lives of exclusion to lives of contribution through employment.
After ten years at the helm, Jocelyn Hillman stepped down as chief executive in April 2019 and passed the leadership baton to Natasha Finlayson, who will take up post as chief executive at the start of June 2019.