A former prisoner has claimed he was denied the chance to turn his life around after his would-be employers found out he had a criminal conviction and withdrew their job offer.
Dundee man Jamie Canter, 22, was looking forward to starting a new job working on a mobile coronavirus testing facility for the Scottish Ambulance Service, after spending four months working at the government’s coronavirus testing hub in Perth.
However, the Scottish Ambulance Service withdrew their offer once the organisation found out he had spent 28 months in a young offenders’ institute for drug convictions.
Jamie now wants others not to dismiss former cons like himself, saying many just want the chance to turn their lives around and make an honest living.
He said: “I went through the whole application process and a telephone interview and got offered the job.
“I signed the contract, sent it back and then they said they needed to do a disclosure check – in my eyes they should have done that before offering me a job and handing out a contract.
“I was honest with them and told them what my convictions were and then they sent me an email to say they were withdrawing their offer of employment.
“They also said I am not the only person this has happened to.
“It is not fair, if someone wants to work they shouldn’t be penalised.”
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Having learned barbering in prison, Jamie has applied to around 20 different barber shops for a job and has recently taken on a flat, but is now worried other employers will knock him back because of his criminal record.
He added: “People complain that prisoners are all on benefits, but if someone wants to put their head down and work they should be allowed to.
“I worked at the testing centre in Perth and knew exactly what to do in the job, it was not like I just came in not knowing what to do, so I don’t understand why I can’t work there.
“Why tell someone they have a job and then not uphold it after doing checks?
“If you were at an airport and you were not allowed to leave the country, they would check that before you got on a flight, not half way through the air, it is ridiculous.
“I have spent time in prison for the crimes I committed, I never killed anyone or hurt anyone.
“I am not going to back to that life, I am just trying to live a normal live but I am struggling.
“Thankfully I am in the right head space to know something else will come along, but there will be a lot who don’t have a job and will turn back to crime to put food on the table.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We have robust measures in place for recruiting staff and individually assess each candidate to ensure they are suitable for the post they have applied for.”