Career Connect

Achieve staff, partners and commissioners gathered in Manchester on Tuesday to celebrate eight and a half years delivering the CFO contract – and the thousands lives it has changed.

Career Connect CEO Sheila Clark and Achieve Managing Director Chris Bennett welcomed the assembled guests and Senior Operations Manager Cilla Roberts gave an overview of achievements delivered by the CFO contract.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Career Connect, Achieve delivers CFO3 on behalf of His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).  CFO3 helps people in the justice system prepare to leave custody and re-enter the community. It motivates programme participants, helping them to identify life goals, overcome barriers and make positive choices leading to sustainable employment.

Achieve has delivered different rounds of the CFO contract since 2010, with delivery taking place across 14 prisons, 29 Probation Offices, 11 Approved Premises and various outreach locations.  Since 2010, Achieve has:

  • Worked with over 40,000 hard-to-reach participants with complex needs and barriers to employment;
  • Delivered 183,947 supporting interventions;
  • Supported 19,211 programme participants into evidenced employment, training or education

Mark Nickson, CEO of CFO, reflected on the life-changing work of CFO’s partnership with Achieve and its lasting impact on programme participants and their communities.  Subcontractors and partner organisations also shared how working with Achieve has enabled them to help offenders and ex-offenders build hope and change their outlooks.

Achieve teams the Business unit, More Developed, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester teams – introduced themselves and explained some of the impactful projects that they have been working on.  These included the Risley Discovery wing project, Futures through football, The bike project and Music Minds.

Two former participants explained how working with Recycling lives and Achieve gave them hope and the belief of a better life by moving into fulfilling careers after time in prison.

Achieve team manager Andy Johnson explained the benefits of the Development Fund projects that Achieve has delivered with various partner organisations, and the benefits they delivered for their participants.

Following the screening of a video highlighting the impacts of Achieve and CFO over the past 8 and a half years, and the thoughts of staff from various teams, the event concluded with the delivery of long service awards for staff who were the first employees of Achieve and started the CFO delivery back in 2010.

Chris Bennett, Managing Director of Achieve said “It’s been an amazing day. So many times I’ve said to myself ‘wow!’ (after hearing participant case studies throughout the day) … None of us can do what we do on our own, so thank you.”

Lorraine Dodd, Chair of Career Connect’s Board of Directors said, “That word … hope, is tangible in this room and I am sure it is making the world of difference out there in terms of the work you do with everyone.”

Sheila Clark, CEO of Career Connect said: “At Career Connect, we are committed to living our values of being inclusive, person-centred, aspirational, impartial, and professional. This celebration event brought into focus how those values are embedded into the journey of every CFO3 participant. It was also a wonderful reminder of how committed our Achieve staff are, and the passion they have for helping people to change their lives for the better.”

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