Celebrating skills development, in Prison, to support rehabilitation, on release

by May 12, 2023Future Skills Commission for Prisons, News, News & events, Prisoners and ex-offenders

For nearly four years now we have endeavoured, through our Foundation, to identify and activate practical ways for offenders to build skills and gain a job upon release. Reoffending costs approximately £18.1bn every year in England, and evidence shows that upskilling prisoners to gain sustainable employment upon release, together with stable accommodation and support, is the most effective way to counter reoffending.

As part of our Future Skills Commission for Prisons, we have now funded eight different programmes which have all sought to offer individuals in Prison and ‘through the gate’ the opportunity to develop vital skills that are needed in society. From construction course simulator technology with HMP Hull and HMP Humber, to rail and track maintenance qualifications with HMP Hatfield, HMP Highpoint and Intertrain – all the way through to pre-apprenticeship programmes via Breakthrough. The breadth of programmes we have funded has been vast, but the common goal the same – to support rehabilitation.

A Royal Celebration

Yesterday, we were delighted to have our President, HRH The Princess Royal, attend HMP Pentonville as we showcased some of the innovative skills development our funding has enabled in Prisons. We had representation from employers such as Co-Op and Greene King, and our charity partners including Bounce Back and Groundwork.

As part of the event, we had four exhibition stations which showcased the transformative role of innovative and quality training in Prison.

Bounce Back, presented their virtual reality headset alongside Keltbray, which is being used in Prison and the community for a Traffic Marshall training experience in which trainees are directing construction vehicles on and off site, as they would do in paid employment on release.

HMP Hull and HMP Humber presented their simulator technology alongside Tenstar. The simulators are being used to deliver high quality training which is boosting the confidence of learners and their appetite to want to get a job on release.

Groundwork discussed how their construction and carbon literacy training is being used in HMP Forest Bank to support the economy towards a greener future.

And finally, HMP Highpoint, alongside Intertrain, showed off their rail track programme which is allowing learners to complete flexible rail courses as part of DfE Bootcamp funding.

As well as exhibiting, our Chief Exec, Kirstie Donnelly MBE, hosted a panel discussion which included former prisoners, charity workers, employers and HMP Pentonville Governor, Ian Blakeman. Ian mentioned what a challenge it has been post-Covid to get men in his care in to the habit of going back in to education programmes. Lorna Jones, Social Mobility Manager from Co-Op talked about what a key role employers play and that we must start valuing those in Prison as being capable to do more than entry level roles. Junior Smart, Founder of SOS Gangs at St Giles, talked about his own lived experience and shared the importance of building trust with individuals so that they know there is someone out there who believes in them. Dr Kameel Khan, Founder of Project Remake, echoed Junior’s point about building trust. And finally, Ryan Hull, Labour Manager at Vital, said he hopes that in the future there will be more opportunities for individuals in prison to complete training and be guaranteed employment.

Speaking at the event, HRH The Princess Royal, said:

“We know that the golden thread for those leaving prison and not returning is made up of acquiring skills relevant to a job, being supported through the gate and into accommodation and an employer offering real opportunities.”

And HMP Pentonville Governor, Ian Blakeman, said:

“It is a privilege to have hosted this event at Pentonville. In recent times we have worked hard to boost those skills which help prisoners find employment on release, and it is fitting that City & Guilds and HMPPS can show this partnership together. This investment in to skills development will allow us to offer more to the men in our care, and be less constrained by the prison environment. Our ambition is to get more prisoners into employment on release, and I look forward to seeing what we’re able to do together in the future.”

What next

Back in 2019 we launched our Future Skills Commission for Prisons and announced £1m of funding towards programmes like those that have been mentioned above. Now that our initial programmes are fully underway, we’re delighted to have recently had approval from our Foundation Committee to open up the application process again in the beginning of June. More information on this to follow, but if you’d like to be alerted when we are ready with this, please email foundation@cityandguilds.com

Across City & Guilds we remain committed to helping people from all walks of life, equipping them with the vital skills and capabilities they need to find a job, progress within that job and go on to enjoy a stable career. And we’re looking forward to seeing what impact our funded programmes continue to have – on the individuals participating in them; the organisations they go on to work for and ultimately, the society we are all part of.

To have a look at the work we’re doing in Prisons, please click here.

To see the images from the event on 11 May 2023, view the full image gallery here.

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

Green Start: A transformative programme continuing to empower ex-offenders from Groundwork

Last year, we reported on the inspiring work being carried out by Groundwork, a UK-wide alliance of charities that brings communities together to tackle poverty and environmental challenges. Committed to creating opportunities for all, they launched their Green Start...

Foundation & Friends Podcast: Unlocking Hidden Refugee Talent with Jessica Ridgewell from Breaking Barriers

How employers can harness the potential of refugee candidates While many UK employers will be aware of the social value associated with supporting refugees, not all will be aware of how best to harness the talent and experience that refugees can bring to the...

Foundation & Friends Podcast: Championing Investment into DEI Programmes with Tammy Banks from Taye Training

Successful DEI training within organisations can foster innovation and creativity as well as attract and retain top talent. To explore this topic, host Charmain Bucho, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at City & Guilds, is joined by Taye Training Director,...

Skills Share 2024: a room full of training royalty

On 1 May 2024 we launched our first ever Skills Share event at Guildhall, London. This was a space to network and learn from the 200+ organisations who have successfully achieved a Princess Royal Training Award over the past nine years (for some up to seven times for...

Foundation & Friends podcast: Championing Investment into Early Talent

A successful early talent strategy and strong learning culture can help organisations to attract, engage and retain early career employees, leading to a more productive workforce and a thriving future for your organisation. To explore this topic, host Manuel...

Advancing A Greener Future: City & Guilds’ Carbon Reduction Journey

As a global leader in skills development, we at City & Guilds recognise the vital role we play in addressing social, environmental, and economic issues. We are committed to embedding responsible business practices into all aspects of our work, which includes our...

Recognising excellence through the Livery Company Prizes

Earlier this month we hosted the annual City & Guilds Livery Company Prizes awards at Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor, The Rt. Hon. Professor Michael Mainelli (Alderman). Each year City of London Livery Companies award prizes to honour outstanding learners...

Celebrating our heritage whilst focusing on the future

The 145th Yearly Meeting of the City and Guilds of London Institute happened at Plaisterers’ Hall in the heart of the City. This beautiful Livery Hall reflects the grandeur of a bygone era in a modern setting. The current hall was opened in 1972 and backs onto the...

Creating collective impact in the rehabilitation sector

This is a guest post by Ian Bickers, Founder of Unlocking Justice and member of our Future Skills Commission for Prisons. When the City & Guilds Foundation organised a day bringing together the people they are partnering with in the rehabilitation space, I was...

Learn about the latest findings on Neurodiversity at work in our latest report

At City & Guilds we are all connected by our common purpose: to help people develop their skills. And our City & Guilds Foundation was established back in 2019 to really amplify our purpose and particularly with a focus on supporting individuals who face...

Podcast episodes

Foundation & Friends Podcast (2024-)

​Green Skills Podcast in collaboration with Green Edge (2024-)

Hosted by Dr. Michael Cross and Fraser Harper, this podcast series explores the critical transition towards a sustainable planet and the pivotal role of green skills in shaping the economy.

Listen now

City & Guilds Foundation Podcast (2021-22)

Share This