Sophie O'Sullivan, about 4 years ago
Citrus Ornge is a specialist performance marketing, technology, and publishing business who are experts in high-end B2B & B2C digital lead generation and new customer acquisition. They provide bespoke digital marketing products. Founder and CEO Jason Baker who established the business in May 2018.
The start-up is forward-thinking and really has inclusive recruitment at the heart of the business. Citrus Ornge aim to create employment opportunities for the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities. They provide several work experience and mentoring initiatives with local community partners in Brighton and Hove, such as Sussex Pathways and Making it Out C.I.C, and are linked with HM Prison Lewes. Jason's vision is to employ 50 per cent of his team from the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities.
Candidates are put forward for interview via community support networks. These community support networks are vital because they ensure that potential candidates, wherever they are in their journey whether that is through-the-gate or several years after release, are ready to progress onto the next stage of their lives into paid employment. During the interview stage, they stay in the workplace for a half-day to gently settle in. After the test stage, if they meet the base level of requirements, the candidate will work for a voluntary 4-week period and then, if successful, will transition onto paid employment in areas such as web development or marketing. This ensures that candidates will adopt a disciplined approach whilst getting used to a co-working space and thus the culture of contribution is valued in the workplace and lends itself to personal development and growth.
One candidate joined the team two years post-release from a sales background and they were able to progress onto full-time employment through a Citrus Ornge partner.
Founder and CEO Jason's own journey to recovery from alcohol addiction gives him insight into the issues that people from these communities face. It takes a great deal of strength and determination to begin to imagine an alternative future. Especially for ex-offenders, who face many challenges getting back into work. He wants to help those in similar circumstances to start again by providing practical support and guidance. His business prides itself on its progressive attitude toward mental health first aid, a key topic for today's modern workplace.
Jason was invited to a talk by The Forward Enterprise Fund, which supports individuals, charities, and social enterprises in creating employment opportunities for ex-offenders and people in recovery from addition.The Forward Enterprise Fund's website states 'ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction are the two groups mainstream employers are least likely to recruit.'This talk inspired Jason to pursue the economic and social benefits of employing from this underrepresented community. The aspiration is to build a flexible business that will work around the needs of the employees and provide recruitment based around recovery. For Jason, having a job can bring independence and self-respect, helping foster a brighter future.
In a time where health and wellbeing is so important, hiring those from the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities has made our company more aware, understanding and sympathetic. Externally, people want to do business with us and are much more invested in helping us from an altruistic and business perspective.
-Jason Baker, Founder and CEO
Like many of the dynamic employers featured on our blog, Citrus Ornge are part of the social momentum toward overcoming the cycle of re-offending and the lapsing of personal progress. They specialise in wellbeing in the workplace. Carmel Millar is a vital member of the team with 44 years of human resource experience at a senior level. Citrus Ornge aim to enhance the digital career prospects for ex-offenders and those from addiction recovery backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of talent that is available from this untapped workforce.
The company has impressive plans over the coming months that include launching several owned and operated publishing sites and announcing more industry experts as board members that will guide them along the best possible path.
If you are interested in hiring those from the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities, Jason strongly recommends contacting The Forward Trust as a first port of call as they support the changing needs of the employer. Please do contact The Forward Trust via our directory or directly on their website.
If you work in the media industry and are interested in creating job opportunities for ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction, please contact Citrus Ornge via our directory. You can follow Citrus Ornge on their socials for updates on their groundbreaking work.