A recent employment drive by BUSY Ability had an aim of placing 1000 people with lived experience of the justice system into work before Christmas. The target was smashed and resulted in 1128 people now in employment and looking forward to a happy Christmas and new year ahead, for themselves and for their families.

BUSY Ability are contracted by the Australian Government to deliver the recently introduced Workforce Australia Specialist Employment Services program. With their prior experience working in male and female prisons in Queensland through their ex-offender program, the team have excellent knowledge of the system and the support required for individuals. BUSY Ability has long been passionate about providing opportunities for people with criminal convictions, to positively integrate individuals back into society through providing work-ready skills training and placement into sustainable employment.

In Australia, each year there are approximately 500,000 people with a registered criminal conviction and approximately 35% of these are driving offences. This barrier to employment can easily become a vicious cycle for people desperately wanting to change their lives for the better.

While still incarcerated, Trudy met the team at BUSY Ability during a jobs expo held within the regional facility and is an example of how the program can support someone to move forward with their lives.

Trudy said of her experience, “It’s really difficult when you leave jail to think that you’re worthy to society again. BUSY Ability helped with that a great deal. Because they were there, I suddenly developed a belief that there was life after this. I rang them when I got out and said that I wanted to be a chef. A week and a half later, I had a job in a fishing club restaurant.

“BUSY Ability helped me with all the equipment I needed, e.g. uniforms, my knives, and any support that I needed. It’s easy to sell yourself short after you’ve travelled in a journey like I’ve had. The people that you meet on the other side of that play a huge role in whether you’re going to be successful or not. It was a turning point in my life meeting BUSY Ability at that expo. If it hadn’t of been for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Trudy is about to start her second year of her apprenticeship with the restaurant and has already progressed far with her chef’s skills. She has recently bought a new car and her family are proud of her success.

CEO of BUSY Ability, Stacey Turnbull, said of the program, “Everyone deserves a second chance. By supporting individuals like Trudy we are not only providing a better path forward for the individual, the positive impacts on their families and the community at large is significant. For employers too, there is a huge un-tapped workforce available that they may not have previously considered. These individuals are keen, skilled, and grateful for the opportunity. They’re determined to prove themselves. BUSY Ability has thousands of job seekers like Trudy, people who are wanting to change their lives by finding secure employment. We encourage employers to contact us to see how we can support their recruitment needs.”

Find out more about BUSY Ability’s support for persons with a lived experience of the justice system.

Watch Trudy’s experience with BUSY Ability who supported her into a new career as a chef after her release from prison.

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