Jocelyn Hillman, founder and chief executive of Working Chance, was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016.
Jocelyn was recognised for services to the rehabilitation of women ex-offenders.
After running employability workshops in HMP Holloway, she was determined that the untapped potential of the women she met be recognised. In 2007, she founded Working Chance, a specialist recruitment consultancy for women ex-offenders, to help them get quality, paid work and become financially autonomous.
The charity is now based in a busy office in north London. There, a skilled team of recruitment consultants, 40% of whom are ex-offenders themselves, help women get work and employers to break down barriers to diversity.
Since 2007, Working Chance has helped place more than 1000 women into jobs so that they can become role models to their children and communities.
Jocelyn Hillman said: “This is not only an honour, it is recognition of the hard work of all the staff at Working Chance, the talented women who have found jobs through us, and the many far-sighted employers for whom they now work. Helping women with convictions get jobs enables them to move across the social divide from lives of exclusion to lives of contribution.”
Nicki Fisher from Pret A Manger said: “We always know when one of the women we are interviewing is a Working Chance candidate, as they are well prepared and very professional. We are looking for future leaders and the women coming to us from Working Chance have the talent and skills to succeed.”
Michelle (not her real name), a Working Chance candidate said: “Working Chance has transformed my life and my children’s lives. Now that I’ve got a job, I can support my family properly and pay my own way. I’ll always be grateful.”