Andy May

Andy May

Tell us about your time at Kier. 

I've been working at Kier since April 2022. At that time, I was serving a prison sentence with just over a year left until my release. Before this, my career was in finance within the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, around the age of thirty, I developed a destructive gambling addiction that ultimately led me to commit crimes to feed that addiction. Until then, I had never been in any trouble, but I found myself deservedly sentenced to four years in prison. 

Tell us about your current role. 

I'm currently working as a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the IMR contract with Anglian Water. Much of my time is spent analysing data and ensuring that we're reporting our costs accurately to the client, liaising with our operations team to mitigate any risks that may arise during their work while always looking for opportunities that could benefit the contract. The transferable skills from my past career in finance have been really useful in this role, and there's a great group of people in the team who have given me much-welcomed guidance along the way. 

What is Making Ground? 

During my time in prison, I was transferred to an open prison partway through my sentence. One key element of being in an open prison is the expectation to gain employment in the community. Gaining employment is an incredibly important part of offenders' rehabilitation process, particularly those serving longer sentences. In simplest terms, the Making Ground programme involves serving prisoners who are security cleared for ROTL (Release On Temporary Licence) employed within Kier. The initiative also provides training and careers advice within the prison environment for prisoners who haven't yet reached open conditions. 

Why is it so important? 

It is a known fact that someone leaving prison with employment is significantly less likely to re-offend. This contributes to a better society overall and aligns with the justice system's aim of keeping the public safe. I met many people in prison who, like myself, had taken the wrong path, made mistakes, and found themselves on the wrong side of the law, rightly being punished for their behaviour. When I first began my time in prison, I genuinely thought that I would never be able to get any kind of meaningful job upon my release. The opportunity to have a second chance with Kier was a game-changer for my family and me. 

How do you feel about us making it to the final in the Water Industry Awards for the Making Ground initiative? 

It goes without saying that I think it's incredible for Kier to be nominated in the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year category at these awards. One of the promises I made to myself early on in prison was to help people struggling with gambling when I was released. I couldn't do that without speaking up and becoming comfortable talking about my conviction, as it's a significant part of my story. Many others have spent time in prison and, understandably, might be less keen to speak about it. Still, for those who work within Kier and fit that category, I'm sure they are all as grateful as I am for the second chance this programme has provided. That being said, the nomination for this award is due to the people within the business who have put this programme together, seen the bigger picture, and made it happen. I hope those who read this join me in thanking them for creating something that can give someone that much-needed second chance. 

What makes you proud to work for Kier? 

Recently, I've been fortunate to meet and chat with various people across the business. Each of them has been incredibly supportive of me personally and non-judgemental of my past. I'm not sure you'd get that in all businesses, and it's a feeling of being included that I never thought I'd experience again. 

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