A SCHEME is being set up to help Borderers with criminal convictions get into work.

Scottish Borders Council’s Community Planning Partnership is creating a network which will give local employers information on the potential benefits of employing ex offenders.

The programme is being run with organisation Recruit with Conviction and over the next year the group aims to build relationships with local firms and employees by hosting a series of events.

SBC’s equalities champion, Councillor John Greenwell (Cons), said: “We do not condone crime but at the same time people deserve a second chance and by providing employment opportunities it means people with convictions can be rehabilitated back into society.

“It is understandable that some local businesses and organisations may have reservations around employing someone with a conviction. 

“However, this programme aims to help debunk some myths about working with people with convictions, as well as highlighting the potential benefits on offer.”

As part of the drive, advice and support will be offered to businesses on employing people with convictions, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and how to conduct interviews.

Dughall Laing, of Recruit with Conviction, added: “One in three men and one in ten women in Scotland have a criminal record.

“When it comes to employment, the correct processes can seem daunting and complicated, with many applicants not knowing what is the correct information to provide and employers simply prefer to avoid asking any questions or remove anyone with a conviction from the pool of candidates.

“This means the right candidate – who could be someone with a minor conviction – can be missed and applicants are not able to move on and contribute their worth.”