Commitment of big business proves vital to tackle reoffending

by Mar 24, 2023Funding, Future Skills Commission for Prisons, News, News & events, Prisoners and ex-offenders

We were delighted to see the latest MOJ release that some of the UK’s biggest and most progressive companies have deepened their commitment to get people in prison into work on release, and that this has played a pivotal role in the rising numbers of prison leavers in employment 6 months after release – almost two thirds between April 2021 and March 2022, from 14 per cent to 23 per cent.

According to government statistics, reoffending is reduced by up to nine percentage points for those who have employment compared to those who do not have a job upon release. Given that reoffending costs the public purse £18 billion per year, beyond the negative impacts on individuals and communities impacted by offending, helping those at a risk of reoffending to secure sustained employment has a ripple effect far beyond the individual.

Since the City & Guilds Foundation launched our Future Skills Commission for Prisons at the end of 2019, we have seen an increased focus on whether skills delivered in prison are leading to genuine employment outcomes. The Prisons White Paper published by the Deputy Prime Minister outlined a strategy to reduce reoffending that put a significant focus in getting prisoners into work both within prison and upon release.

City & Guilds Fellow and Future Skills in Prison Commissioner James Timpson OBE, alongside Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, was instrumental in overhauling targets for employment rates of prisoners.

Central to the approach was to appoint pioneering companies have been as Employment Advisory Board (EAB) chairs at all 92 resettlement prisons. EABs play a key role in offenders’ transition from resettlement prisons to life after incarceration. The new EAB chairs will leverage their business expertise by providing insight into the skills, qualifications and training that prisons need to help prisoners re-enter the workforce. This knowledge will help prisons to tailor their skills and training offerings to support demand within their local labour markets, ensuring that ex-offenders are equipped for existing jobs upon release.

Since the EABs were launched in March 2022, we at City & Guilds have had the honour of being represented on a number of EABs around the country and have seen their impact firsthand. Yesterday’s announcement is an exciting continuation of the Boards’ work thus far and we are delighted to see so many of our friends and partners playing such key roles and really walking the talk when it comes to tackling the levels of reoffending and in helping to boost the economy.

Jon Murphy, CEO of Murphy Group, EAB Chair at HMP Berwyn and multi-year recipient of the prestigious Princess Royal Training Awards is one of the latest appointments. When asked about the work of the EABs, he said:

There are so many benefits to hiring prison leavers. Most of all it provides employers with a talent pool to tap into so we can continue to grow our workforce. Employment Advisory Boards are reinforcing the importance of skills and meaningful work of prisoners – helping transform the lives of prison leavers and allowing us to hire dedicated and hardworking staff.

In this week’s announcement, Greggs (whose Chief Executive, Roisin Currie is also a Commissioner of the City & Guilds Foundation Future Skills for Prisons) said:

At Greggs, we pride ourselves on our culture, creating an environment which is inclusive of everyone. Being an inclusive business also means making it easier for people who might face challenges with getting a job.

This news, alongside the increasingly expansive opportunities to put quality education and training programmes in prison (such as apprenticeships, bootcamps, and academies),  means there are many reasons to be optimistic that the skills and capabilities acquired by prisoners inside the gates will enable them to make a meaningful, additive contribution to society.

At City & Guilds we remain committed to forging connections that support prisoners through the gates and into enduring jobs. We are delighted to see that so many business leaders are equally engaged and leveraging their expertise to both tackle the re-offending crisis and help former offenders reach their full potential.

The more business and education leaders that share that vision, work in genuine collaboration, and leverage their expertise in helping prisoners reach their full potential, will surely only help us improve the prospects for offenders on release and make a transformative difference to communities across the UK.

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

Introducing the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team

In a bold step towards ensuring that learners experience and perspectives are at the heart of key decision-making processes here at City & Guilds, we are pleased to introduce the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team. This team will provide an ‘active voice’...

City & Guilds launches partnership with The Green Edge

We are excited to announce a new collaboration with sustainable business analysts, The Green Edge, to produce a bespoke podcast series, designed to help us respond to the latest developments in green skills markets.

Eliminating barriers to employment in the green sector

Creating and filling green jobs is crucial if the UK is to meet its target to deliver a net-zero economy by 2050 (Green Jobs Taskforce, 2021). Green jobs help to protect and restore the natural environment whilst also boosting economic growth, improving energy...

Foundation & Friends Monthly Round-up: August 2023

As we prepare to bid farewell to the sunny-ish days of summer here in the UK, let’s take a moment to reflect on some exciting developments that have taken place over the last month. From new milestones to impactful projects – here’s a snapshot of what’s been happening.

Cockpit Awards open for applications on 01 September

Our partners Cockpit are excited to announce a number of fantastic awards that aspiring craftspeople can apply for this autumn. A Cockpit Award means a free studio space at Cockpit's London studios, plus one-to-one business coaching and a place on our world-class...

53 Princess Royal Training Awards across UK and Ireland for achieving positive impact through skills development

Now in its eighth year, The Princess Royal Training Awards continue to honour organisations showing exceptional commitment to learning and development. Among this year’s 53 award-winning recipients, are a mix of small not-for-profit organisations and large multinationals, each showcasing a refreshing display of diverse and innovative approaches to learning and development.

Welcome to our first Foundation & Friends monthly round-up!

We know that connecting communities and organisations is not always easy and there is not always a one size fits all solution. Over the past 18 months we have trialled different things, including our virtual platform, and based on various bits of feedback – not least the way in which we find ourselves working post pandemic – we have decided to trial a monthly round up email to our networks – with this being the first one!

Heritage Crafts training bursary for Black and ethnically diverse makers now open!

This training bursary is targeted at Black and ethnically diverse makers, as this is an under-represented group in heritage crafts. It is sponsored by the City & Guilds Foundation and is one of a suite of awards and bursaries offered by Heritage Crafts to support...

From Palaces to Prisons: how everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect

Having been in the Foundation team a year now, it’s clear that Michael Osbaldeston’s reputation precedes him. He knows everyone there is to know in the education and skills world in London and beyond and is one of the greatest networkers I’ve ever had the pleasure of...

ReSET: Recognising strengths developed through lived experience

We’re pleased to be able to launch ReSET: a strengths-based engagement tool which has been designed using the lived experience of people who are marginalised.

Podcast episodes

Share This