Our project is motivated by the problems faced by those who have been in prison. As well as facing discrimination by employers, they also lack the relevant skills, qualifications and experience to find employment. Those who cannot find work are twice as likely to reoffend and go back to prison. There is a great need for this project because prison is not working, and we need alternative, effective responses to address the alarming 50% UK re-offending rate. Ex-offenders need the specialised support we provide which connects them back to their families and communities in a meaningful way, empowers them to change their lives, find work and make a positive contribution to society.
The solution is to provide holistic, individualised support for ex-offenders. The funding will be spent ensuring they are as well-equipped as possible to enter meaningful, sustainable employment. We will do this using our innovative prison to employment model which provides through the gate holistic support and accredited training in a variety of construction skills closely linked to local labour market shortages. This is the most effective way for participants to lift themselves out of poverty, reach their potential and refrain from re-offending. 90% of participants will refrain from further offending and at least 70% of participants will demonstrate positive progressions.
We have successfully supported over 3,000 participants to build their skills and enter sustainable employment since 2011. We have built up a reputation for quality and effectiveness. We know that a paid job on release is a major factor in ensuring desistance, hence our focus is always on preparing participants to compete effectively in the current job market. Our greatest strength lies in our ability to provide identifiable routes into employment through the excellent links with local construction employers we have built up. Our commercial model of engagement was recognised as best practice in the 2016 Government review of training in prisons, ‘Unlocking Potential’.