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Prisoners are set to be offered additional support and training to help them get a job when they are released.

A major new policy to deliver a pathway towards employment will offer specific training to inmates to apply for jobs. The move, designed to help cut re-offending rates, will also see prisons team up with employers to identify job opportunities.

Jobs to help cut reoffending rates


From the moment a prisoner arrives in jail, they will be offered training via a strategy that sets out new measures to enhance skills acquired in custody so they have a better chance of getting a job upon release.

Evidence shows that former inmates who find a job when they leave prison are 9 percentage points less likely to commit further crime. Re-offending is currently estimated to cost the economy £15 billion a year, yet just 17 per cent of offenders are in employment a year after release.

Prison work tailored to local labour market


Education and training, work while in custody, and the availability of employment opportunities in the community, are seen as pivotal in helping the new initiative succeed.

It will see prison governors given the power to commission education and training programmes which provide offenders with the skills that employers are looking for. This will be tailored to meet specific labour market requirements in the prison’s local economy, as well as the needs of prisoners.

Additionally, a vocational route, the Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway, will offer an alternative means of delivering training in custody which guarantees jobs on release.

Aligning prison work with real-world jobs


There will be a renewed focus on encouraging offenders to take up prison work, with roles more closely aligned with job opportunities in the local community.

A consultation has been launched on how to get more risk-assessed prisoners out of their cells and into real-world workplaces while on temporary licence.

The strategy also sets out how offenders will be helped to find jobs on release and a new body, the New Futures Network, will work with employers to generate job opportunities.

Solving the skills shortage


In launching the initiative, Justice Secretary David Gauke said he wanted prisons to be “places of hope and aspiration that propel offenders into employment.” “I believe passionately that through work, people can turn their backs on crime and start a new chapter in their lives,” he said.

He also wants employers to look past an offender’s conviction and more to their future potential.

With many businesses experiencing skills shortages, Jane Gratton from British Chambers of welcomed the initiative, and said: “Providing different ways of training for those in custody will help boost the talent pool in the workforce, and enable regional economies to thrive.”
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