People in prison often have much lower literacy levels (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

In the current labour market, recruitment is difficult. Vacancies have started to drop after the post-pandemic job boom, but businesses are still struggling to hire. Employment rates have, at best, flatlined since last summer, with the number of over 50s leaving the labour market increasing.

The growing skills gap means many employers are thinking twice about their approach to recruitment. Last month, an innovative new pipeline was opened up to help shape the labour market: prisoners can for the first time become an apprentice while they are still serving their sentences. What this means is that employers now have the ability to hire directly from the prison population, which currently stands at over 80,000 adults across prisons in England and Wales.

Of course, not all prisoners can be sent out on day release to carry out training. But a significant number of prisoners are in open prisons coming to the end of their sentence, and starting to look at building a new life for themselves upon their release. These are the individuals who are now eligible for apprenticeship opportunities in vital industries, including hospitality and construction, providing direct routes into jobs with businesses in the community. The scheme is initially being offered up to a hundred prisoners across England before being rolled out across the wider prison estate.

Read more

Britain’s ‘most-wanted’ tax cheat begins eight year jail sentence after nine years on the run

It is not just prisoners who stand to benefit from this programme: employers have plenty to gain too. Polling commissioned by the Ministry of Justice found that over 90 percent of businesses who employ ex-offenders said they are reliable, good at their job, punctual and trustworthy. As James Timpson – head of the high street shoe repair and locksmithing firm Timpson – puts it, employing ex-offenders makes good business sense because “the people we recruit from jails are so bloody good”. The Timpson Group has hired more than 1,500 ex-prisoners since 2008, and is a leader in the initiative.

By offering prisoners the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time, we can fast track the journey from the prison cell to sustainable employment. And this has a proven impact on reducing reoffending: MoJ research has found that, for prisoners who served custodial sentences of less than a year, the re-offending rate after 12 months was 9.4 percentage points lower for those who found work after release than those who did not. The national cost of reoffending to society stands at £18bn a year. The risk-reward of the policy is a no-brainer.

So if exposing prisoners to education and training has a demonstrable impact in helping them find a job after release, why do we not do more to encourage them?

Read more

Deliveroo bosses face prison sentences following worker status abuse

Many people are unaware that prisoners usually have to choose between participating in education or work. All too often they are financially incentivised to carry out tasks around the prison such as cleaning, cooking and laundry at the expense of improving their skills and gaining valuable qualifications. Prisoners are often educationally well behind their peers by the time they enter their cell for the first time: a staggering 57 per cent of prisoners have literacy levels below those expected of an 11-year-old.

Education and training offer them a means of finding a job and breaking free of the cycle of reoffending – and helping fill the gaps in our economy as well.

The post Behind bars shouldn’t mean being barred from the workforce and skills opportunities appeared first on CityAM.

QOSHE - Behind bars shouldn’t mean being barred from the workforce and skills opportunities - Sascha Osullivan
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Behind bars shouldn’t mean being barred from the workforce and skills opportunities

5 12 1
08.11.2022
People in prison often have much lower literacy levels (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

In the current labour market, recruitment is difficult. Vacancies have started to drop after the post-pandemic job boom, but businesses are still struggling to hire. Employment rates have, at best, flatlined since last summer, with the number of over 50s leaving the labour market increasing.

The growing skills gap means many employers are thinking twice about their approach to recruitment. Last month, an innovative new pipeline was opened up to help shape the labour market: prisoners can for the first time become an apprentice while they are still serving their sentences. What this means is that employers now have the ability to hire directly from the prison population, which currently stands at over 80,000 adults across prisons in England and Wales.

Of course, not all prisoners can be sent out on day release to carry out training. But a significant number of........

© City A.M.


Get it on Google Play