From education to employment

Tony’s journey to helping ex-offenders #FEsavedME

Tony Franklin was determined to turn his life around and give something back to the community when he started working with ex-offenders, supporting them on the path back to employment.

Tony, 36, an ex-offender himself, secured employment with Hertfordshire-based charity HACRO (Herts Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders) which provides family and employment support to help rehabilitate offenders.

As Project Manager, Tony manages volunteer groups of ex-offenders as they complete community-based projects across Hertfordshire. The aim is to help them gain work experience and confidence to prepare them for the workplace or for skills training opportunities.

Father-of-two Tony, from Hemel Hempstead, had no formal training or qualifications himself and understands first-hand the difficulty of finding work with a criminal record. With the support of HACRO, he turned to employment and skills specialist Seetec to help him develop his management skills.

Tony, who obtained a Leadership & Management qualification, explained: “It was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do for a long time. I left school without any qualifications and I’ve never written an essay before.

“I’m dyslexic so it was a struggle, and I had to find the time to do the work by getting up early or at weekends. It was definitely a good experience, I’ve learnt a lot from it and it’s given me the confidence to do more courses.

“I had a lot of support from Tom at Seetec. I learnt about motivating people, which is important as some of those I work with have never worked before, and also about different learning styles.”

Chantel Hampton, Skills Delivery Manager, from Seetec said: “Tony showed great perseverance in completing and passing all his assignments, and he is clearly determined to continue learning to improve his future opportunities.”

HACRO Trustee, Peter Sweetman, said: “By the end of the Seetec course, Tony was displaying both a sharper focus on the critical success factors in his area of responsibility, and improvements in the way he communicated his plans and priorities.

“Accordingly we presented to our board and to those funding Tony’s work a proposal to upgrade his post and I am glad to report that it was accepted immediately.”   

Seetec provided Tony’s training free of charge as part of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills For Growth scheme, financed by the European Social Fund.

Norman Jennings, Operations Director at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “A skilled and motivated workforce is a key driver of business growth, productivity and economic prosperity, and through the Skills For Growth programme, we have helped over 550 Hertfordshire businesses maximise their potential by training and upskilling their existing employees.”

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