A dialogue on self development and employment post-conviction

About This Event

Facilitated by ‘The Two Norries’

James Leonard and Timmy Long are both from the northside of Cork city and their popular podcast covers themes across the social and health sphere with a particular focus on addiction, drug use, crime and recovery. Guests include people’s personal stories of overcoming adversity as well as professionals’ perspective on issues discussed in the podcast. The podcast is designed to be informative, sensitive and educational while having a laugh in the process. Tough issues are spoken about and explained with sensitivity and humour with the hope of reducing stigma and stereotypes.

What’s Happening

We want to talk about supporting careers after conviction, and what we can do at key moments during someone’s time within the justice system to facilitate that progression.

Together, we want to increase employment options for people with criminal histories as a way of reducing reoffending, promoting active citizenship, safer communities and fewer victims.

This timely collaboration between Gaisce – The President’s Award and the Working to Change Strategy is about changing the all too often negative narrative that implies that the presence of a conviction means a lack of job opportunities and prospects, to one of hope and transformation through self-development.

This event is about expanding the dialogue across justice agencies and employers – getting heads in the room – and moving forward together on a path of change.

Who Would Benefit From This Event

  • Anyone supporting people with criminal histories into employment
  • Those supporting or facilitating the Gaisce Award in the wider justice sector
  • People with lived experience of the criminal justice system
  • Educators and Researchers
  • Employers
  • Social Enterprise Employers

What To Expect On The Day

We are gathering people across the criminal justice sector, along with NGOs, educators, Community Based Organisations and employers to contribute and shape the day with meaningful and practical takeaways for all who attend.

You can expect engaging panel discussions and Q+A, provoking contributions and opportunities to network and meet others across the sector.

Lunch will be provided. Registration is at 10am.


In November 2020, the Department of Justice launched the Working to Change social enterprise and employment strategy 2021 – 2023. The overall aim of this strategy is to increase employment options for people with criminal histories as a way of reducing reoffending, promoting active citizenship and safer communities and fewer victims.

The Working to Change strategy is dynamically demonstrating the pathways to employment that exist and can exist for people, in a post-custodial context. It is also exploring a wider and deeply transformative narrative of diversity and inclusion that has untold benefits for all of society.

There is a natural link and synergy between the transformative journey that a young person undertaking their Gaisce Award takes, and the strategy employed by Working to Change which is all about meaningful employment, removing barriers to support individual change, creating fair and accessible routes to work for people with criminal records.

For the last two decades, Gaisce has worked to support and advocate for young people in all areas of the Irish justice system, where the impact of the Award programme can be deeply profound.

Achieving a Gaisce Award (Bronze, Silver or Gold) requires immense levels of dedication, resilience and self-determination especially when achieved in a justice setting. These are all skills and attributes that are sought out by employers particularly now with an international labour shortage.

The Working to Change strategy is the clear and certain signpost that a better future and place in society exists and therefore validates the reasons for participation in a self-development programme like the Gaisce Award.


Working to Change

The Department of Justice Working to Change Strategy is committed to a whole-systems approach to increasing employment options for people with past convictions that recognises their skills and capabilities leading to active citizenship, safer communities, fewer victims and supporting a route to desistance.

Gaisce – The President’s Award

Gaisce – The President’s Award (est. 1985) is a self-development programme for young people aged 14-25, which has been proven to enhance confidence and wellbeing through the participation in physical, personal, community and team challenges. For the last two decades, Gaisce has worked to support and advocate for young people in all areas of the Irish justice system, where the impact of the award programme can be deeply profound.