From Prison to Pioneering Sustainability: Kyle’s Success Story
Kyle joined the Bakers Waste team just six days after being released from prison, on 31 Dec 2019 and is now fast approaching two years’ service as one of our most relied upon professional drivers.
In the beginning, Kyle was offered the opportunity to deliver bins to new customers, and within 8 months he had achieved his HGV Cat C (Class 2) professional driver’s licence and was able to drive a Trade Refuse Vehicle and provide waste collection services to hundreds of commercial customers.
“Bakers Waste supported me not only with the initial opportunity but also by paying for my HGV CAT C (Class 2) driver training; I passed on August 28th, 2020, just over 8 months after I began working here and it would have been sooner if not for unprecedented times and a global pandemic!” Kyle commented.
Challenges to Overcome
We sat down and spoke with Kyle to understand his journey, the challenges he’s faced, and outline the opportunities offenders have when coming to the end of their sentence.
Kyle was asked about the challenges he experienced when first looking for work towards the end of his sentence, and he responded: “Having to declare my criminal record always felt, in the beginning, as though it would stop me from being successful in finding a job, so there’s definitely a challenge there with your mindset and being confident enough to put yourself out there again.
However, this was not the case and lots of employers are willing to look at who you are now rather than who you have been. Thanks to technology and social media it’s also never been easier to find companies, like Bakers Waste, who are willing to give people a 2nd chance.
Your mind can be the toughest challenge to overcome. Having nothing to look forward to really changes your perspective on life, and makes you realise what’s important. Whereas, having something to look forward to can change your perspective and be the motivation you need to change your life. For example, during my sentence, I would visualise starting my own business and this got me through for a while.”
The Quest for Something Greater
As Kyle eloquently puts it, visualisation can be the key that unlocks the motivation required to keep moving forward, but it mustn’t stop there. Conquering the mind sets the foundations to work towards something more, and within the prison system today there are environmental opportunities all-around to help support offenders to learn a new skill, gain a qualification or simply just give something back and prove to bring value back into society.
One such environmental opportunity presented itself to Kyle whilst in Stocken Prison, which was in fact choreographed by Bakers Waste, and Kyle commented on: “Whilst at Stocken prison, I worked on the Bike Refurbishment scheme, set up by Bakers Waste. This is where old and broken bicycles would come to us and within our workshop, the bike would be fully restored to look as good as new.
These bikes would then be donated to charity organisations such as Age UK and Help the Homeless Leicester. Not only did this provide us with new skills and in some instances even qualifications, but it also instilled a great feeling, to know we were giving to charity and having a positive social impact.”
Pictured from left to right: Lewis Baker, Service Manager, and Arif, Help the Homeless Leicester Founder.
Something bigger and better was always on the horizon for Kyle, as he mentioned before about visualising an end goal, and as illustrated by his following statement: “I won’t forget the feeling of being arrested, my whole life came crashing down on me and it’s not a feeling I wish to relive. Since then, I’ve been more motivated than ever to be a good person and I’m sure this is common for many offenders.”
Kyle remembered and used the feeling of being arrested as motivation to create a better life for himself following his sentence, and ultimately built himself up to the point of being work-ready.
We asked him how he found the experience whilst joining Bakers Waste and his wider route back into work: “From the beginning, everybody at Bakers Waste has been extremely supportive, compassionate, and understanding, and this instantly built trust and made me feel comfortable.
There is a great team here, who listen when you have a problem or an idea and will take it forwards. There have been occasions where I and the planning team have worked together, and this teamwork really helped with my confidence.”
Pictured from left to right: Darrell, Service Delivery Manager, and Kyle, Class 2 Professional Driver.
Finally, we wanted to hear from somebody who has the first-hand experience, and asked Kyle what advice he would give to other ex-offenders looking to find their way in life: “I think when you see something like the situation I’ve had with Bakers Waste, where people are coming together with the aim of helping others, it must give you confidence that things will get better. I hope that my story will give people ‘something to look forward to’, work towards, and ultimately the hope they need to turn their lives around, because I know it’s possible”
Everybody at Bakers Waste is both extremely proud to work with Kyle Garner and of what he has achieved in his relatively short time with the business. Kyle is a hard-working, enthusiastic, team player. Kyle’s story takes him from prison to pioneering; with new ideas that support Bakers Waste’s sustainability efforts. We implore other businesses to consider ex-offender employment and celebrate fantastic results when people are given a 2nd chance.
Pictured from left to right: Kyle, Class 2 Professional Driver, and Darrell, Service Delivery Manager