Ex-offenders land top-notch jobs in tough times with Key4Life


During this challenging year of adversity, four ex-offenders from London, supported by the crime prevention charity Key4Life, have become gainfully employed by highly regarded companies, creating the chance for a better life.

In an Evening of Celebration online panel event, chaired by ex-offender Liam Meredith, the quartet shared their stories to a global audience of business representatives, offering inspiration for creating opportunities out of adversity, and building resilience in tough times.

Key4Life has a track record for turning around the lives of some of the most disaffected young men in Britain.

And in this year of extreme financial uncertainty, in which millions have lost jobs, the charity is celebrating three former offenders in their 20s, Mo, Jasin and Nathan, for becoming gainfully employed against the odds; and another, Nellie, for setting up an inspirational new business.

Eva Hamilton MBE, Founder & CEO of Key4Life, said: “These young men have succeeded in winning the confidence of their new employers at Media Com, Willmott Dixon and Glassworks – and in Nellie’s case starting a thriving business – despite their offending background. They also demonstrate that we can all triumph over adversity and make a valuable contribution.”

Mo, who did time in prison for dealing drugs, went through Key4Life’s rehabilitation programme in 2018, and has just been selected from 200 applicants for an account executive role at esteemed marketing agency, Media Com.

“When I was locked up, I worried it was the end,” he said. “But Key4Life helped me build emotional resilience, showed me what change could look like, and I was able to make the impossible possible.”

Yasin explained how he’d fallen into drug dealing and petty crime before Key4Life transformed his life. “They gave me self-belief,” he said.

“They got me a three-day work taster with Willmott Dixon and I’m now doing a Civil Engineering apprenticeship with them. It’s challenging but I am up for the challenge.”

Nathan recounted how he’d wound up in prison after becoming involved with drugs and violence. “When I came out I had no confidence or motivation,” he said.


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“But after taking the Key4Life course during Lockdown I took millions of strides forwards. I was given a mentor, found confidence in abundance, and they helped me with job hunting. Now I have an IT training apprenticeship at the film and media company, Glassworks.”

Nellie explained how he’d suffered a rough start in life: “My dad beat me from the age of one, life was hell,”

Meeting Key4Life, the charity helped him set up his company Trooth, which supplies nutritious fruit and veg boxes, herbs and supplements.

“Key4Life gave me hope,” Nellie said, “and prisoners are bankrupt without hope.”

A Key4Life participant is four times more likely to be employed a year after their release than their peers, and 16% of those who’ve completed Key4Life’s programmes have re-offended, compared to the national proven re-offending rate of 64% one-year post release.

And yet, like so many charities, Key4Life has been massively impacted in 2020 by Covid-19, and in urgent need of funds to continue its work, has launched the Key4Life Oak Tree Appeal.

Ms Hamilton said: “As these men have inspirationally demonstrated, we all have to be strong, resilient and grounded in these tough times, just like an oak tree. From little acorns do giant oaks grow.

“We’re launching our Oak Tree Appeal to raise funds to continue our mission to reduce youth offending and save lives. Please donate generously and give more young men the roots to create a brighter future.”

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