Acorn becomes one of the first employers in the UK to achieve YOUNITED Flag kitemark

UK recruiter is one of only 15 employers nationwide recognised for supporting Key4Life partnership giving ex-offenders a second chance 

Acorn Recruitment is one of the first employers in the UK to be recognised for its support of an employment partnership designed to give ex-offenders a second chance.

The YOUNITED Flag award – launched in September 2019 by music legend Nile Rodgers together with crime prevention charity, Key4Life – encourages companies working to employ ex-offenders and give them another chance, rewarding those that do with the prestigious YOUNITED Flag kitemark.

Acorn is one of just 15 in the UK to have been awarded the kitemark so far, following a ceremony held in the UK capital with the Lord Mayor City of London in attendance.

The special awards ceremony held at Mansion House also celebrated the 9th birthday of Key4Life, which reduces re-offending through its innovative rehabilitation programme for young men in prison and those at risk of going to prison, saving lives by helping to break the cycle of crime.

Bernard Ward, Managing Director at Acorn, said of the award: “We are hugely proud to be one of the first in the UK to receive this prestigious award, but also truly humbled by the partners and individuals we work with to help make its aims a reality.

“We work in partnership with a wide range of partnering organisations which, alongside Acorn, are committed to providing job seekers from all backgrounds, including those with a history of offending, with the opportunities they need to succeed in life.”

“This award is welcomed in recognition not only of those individuals who work within Acorn to promote the rights of ex-offenders in finding meaningful employment and rebuilding their lives following a conviction, but also our partners in business that work with us to achieve this too,” Bernard added.

The first 15 companies awarded the YOUNITED Flag across the UK are Acorn Recruitment, Avalara, Bouygues, Dent Global, MediaCom, Purple Hire Solutions, SheerLuxe, Sir Robert McAlpine, Social Pantry, Sony Music, St James, Trade Windows, Yeo Valley, Willis Towers Watson and Willmott Dixon.

Acorn Recruitment has a strong track record of supporting candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds into employment and works with a wider variety of partner organisations to make this happen.  It has placed 87 ex-offenders into the construction industry since 2017 with the full permission of its clients through its BOSS Project with homeless charity The Wallich, among other things.

Lawrence Beach, Operations Manager at Acorn said: “For us it’s about more than just getting people into work. Our focus is on building communities, strengthening social structures and laying strong foundations for the future.”

“We partner with other organisations that are forces for social good and aim to engage candidates furthest from the job market, this in turn enables Acorn as a business to fulfil the commitment it has not only to its clients across a wide range of industries but also to the wider UK workforce in matching the right skills with the right roles.”

For more information on Acorn Recruitment, its external partnerships and vacancies available, visit