Lived Experience Charter Assessment Panel Lead

A statement about why you are motivated to be involved and support the organisation's mission and objectives

As I spent several years behind bars, I have no time to waste. My aspiration is that everything I do from now on must be authentic, worthwhile and provide me with inner growth. My connection to Career Matters satisfies all of these desires. Career Matters are undoubtedly influencing positive change in the career prospects, and therefore life chances of people with all manner of lived experience. Our combined endeavour to enable the progression of others has real consequence, and I believe we enrich our own lives when our work fulfils such a valuable social purpose.

A short statement about your role with career matters

Career Matters organised my participation in the pilot of the Lived Experience Charter whilst I was still serving a sentence. It was an impressive feat to persuade the ‘powers-that-be’ that the input of those who were still serving their sentences was significant to the repute of the Charter. When I rejoined the community, they invited me to once again use my lived experience as an assessor, but also gave me the career coaching I needed to eventually take up a position as an Assessment Panel Lead. A role that allows me to use my own lived experience perspective to promote the Lived Experience Charter Values to fellow assessors and service providers.

A short biography listing headline experience

Whilst in prison, I was HMP Birmingham’s Peer Support Co-ordinator and enjoyed being able to engage in purposeful activity whilst serving my sentence. I went on to lead the Prison Council, and undertake projects with the Prison Reform Trust, and Wellbeing Navigators. I therefore built up an almost academic knowledge of prison reform issues and the expectations of a serving prisoner. My work now is an extension of the work that I did on behalf of peers whilst inside, and on re-joining society in 2022, I have worked on several ‘social value’ projects, with a particular focus on helping those who have served a sentence get back into secure employment. A recent highlight was being asked to speak at the 20th Anniversary of Debating Matters in London due to previously winning and then mentoring the Debating Behind Bars Competition.