East Midlands business chief appointed chair of prison advisory board

One of the region’s most prominent business leaders is helping to bridge the gap between employers and prisoners after being appointed to a key position.
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Scott Knowles, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber, is now chair of the newly-formed employment advisory board at HMP Sudbury Prison in Derbyshire.

The 12-person board helps to develop work and training opportunities for prisoners, establish partnerships with local businesses, and invest in projects that will support their progression into long-term employment once they return to the community.

The chamber’s director of resources Lucy Robinson is vice-chair of the board, which also includes other business leaders.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles has been appointed as chair of the newly-formed employment advisory board at HMP Sudbury Prison. Photo: Mark AverillEast Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles has been appointed as chair of the newly-formed employment advisory board at HMP Sudbury Prison. Photo: Mark Averill
East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles has been appointed as chair of the newly-formed employment advisory board at HMP Sudbury Prison. Photo: Mark Averill

Scott said: “It’s a great privilege to be asked to lead the new employment advisory board, which has a crucial role to play both for society and businesses.

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“We want to ensure prison leavers are given the tools they need to re-enter the community and make a meaningful contribution via a long-term job.

“At the same time, businesses are grappling with a skills shortage that is severely hampering their growth prospects, with four in 10 East Midlands businesses struggling to fill vacant roles.

“With the region’s unemployment rate at a record low of 2.4 per cent amid a rising number of people leaving the workforce, businesses now need to widen their labour pool via inclusive recruitment strategies that tap into people from all backgrounds, including prison leavers.

“Some of our members have already started to do this and are hugely enthusiastic about the contributions they make because these individuals are very keen to make a new start, and will show great loyalty to the organisation that gives them a chance.”