A 22-year-old from Leeds wants employers to give young people with criminal records a fair chance when it comes to work and not judge them on their past.
Rachel Wylie is concerned that many former offenders struggle to get on the employment ladder due to their previous convictions.
Rachel, who helps female ex-convicts back into work, is worried that constant rejection has an impact on their self-esteem and in some cases increases the pull of crime.
‘Many of the young women I speak to feel like there is a barrier which makes it difficult for them to find a job,' explains Rachel.
‘Their main concern is employers turning them away because of their history.
‘The sad thing is, these individuals are looking to turn over a new leaf in their lives, but they’re not being supported.
‘All they want is that first step to show they can be trusted, which is what my campaign aims to encourage.’
With Fixers, Rachel and her team have helped to produce a short film showing how young people with criminal records can often struggle to find a vocation.
The piece shows an ex-offender, played by an actor, writing a candid letter to an employer urging them to look beyond her past.
Watch 'The Stigma of Ex-Offenders' at the top of this page.
‘It’s amazing, extremely powerful and accomplishes exactly what we intended,’ says Rachel.
‘In my opinion, employers aren’t fully aware of how important they are in shaping these people's future. All they want is an opportunity.’
Rachel plans to send the film to local businesses and also show it to the young people she supports at the Together Women Project.
She adds: ‘It’s important that employers treat everyone as individuals before anything else.
‘They should judge candidates on their merit, qualifications and desire to do the job.
‘Their decision could be more important than they know.’
For more employment-related information and tips, visit the National Careers Service website.
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Craig and his team want employers to stop stereotyping
those who’ve served prison sentences. Watch their Fixers film.