New initiative from Weston College to secure jobs for prison leavers

Weston College has been selected to provide the Future Skills Programme, which is funded by His Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS). The College, which provides education to prisoners in the South West, has received funding to assist individuals in the last six months of their sentence. Employment, housing, and support for ex-offenders are essential factors in reducing reoffending rates.

The Future Skills Programme is a national initiative that works with providers to help ex-offenders secure employment by providing training programs, eliminating employment barriers, and offering ongoing support throughout the early phases of employment post-release. The programme will offer six-week courses in hospitality and catering, utilities, construction, and warehousing logistics, and employers will interview learners during the course to offer them job opportunities before leaving prison.

The initiative will launch in March 2025 and offer courses at HMP Exeter, HMP Channings Wood in Devon, and HMP Portland in Dorset. The program is developed with the help of employers who will be involved in the training delivery and will offer those who complete the course a guaranteed interview for a live vacancy in their release area. Weston College is excited to deliver the Future Skills Programme and work closely with employers and learners to develop employment skills and secure jobs before leaving custody.

Jacqui Ford, Interim Principal and Chief Executive at Weston College said:

“Weston College is delighted to have successfully secured this opportunity to deliver the Future Skills Programme. As an existing provider of education in prisons, we look forward to working with partners to mobilise this exciting new initiative, working closely with employers, and supporting learners to develop skills for employment and secure jobs before leaving custody.”

Dave Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnerships at Weston College, said:

“As an established provider of prison education, we’re seeing an increased level of engagement from employers looking to offer opportunities to fill skills gaps in their business. We regularly hear from our learners that leaving prison can be daunting. Knowing that you have the skills employers need, and a job offer from an employer who believes in you, will make such a difference. I would like to thank those employers including Arthur David and GXO who supported our bid for the Future Skills Programme, and we look forward to engaging with many more businesses to create brighter futures through this initiative.”

Weston College is seeking additional employers to work on this initiative, if you are interested in participating, please contact the employer engagement team at Weston College by emailing employers@weston.ac.uk

Source: Employing prisoners and ex-offenders - GOV.UK 

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