Prisoners will soon have access to apprenticeship training thanks to a new government scheme. The initiative has been described as a “game-changing move” which intends “to get more ex-offenders into jobs and cut the cost of re-offending by £18 billion”.

Criminal defence solicitors – England and Wales

If you need a criminal defence solicitor, please contact us at Ashmans. We specialise in criminal defence law and can represent you throughout proceedings. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Prisoner apprenticeships

Later this year, regulations in England and Wales will be changed so that prisoners nearing the end of their sentence can access apprenticeship opportunities. Prisoners will be subject to day release where necessary to receive job-based training in key industries such as construction and hospitality.

An initial pilot of the scheme will allow “hundreds” of prisoners to start an apprenticeship by 2025. The opportunity will then be rolled out across the whole prison estate.

Other prisoners will also be offered pre-apprenticeship training to prepare them for an apprenticeship or skilled job after their release.

Cut crime

The government says it hopes the scheme will both reduce crime and address local labour shortages. Evidence shows that those who leave prison with work are significantly less likely to re-offend. Companies who hire ex-offenders also benefit. Polls published in 2021 showed that nine out of 10 businesses that hired ex-offenders found them to be reliable, punctual, trustworthy and good at their job. Timpson’s is proud to be one of the largest employers of ex-offenders, with around 10% of its workforce made up of people with criminal convictions.

Some open prisons already focus on reintegration back into the community before release. HMP Prescoed in Wales has one of the largest training programmes within prisons. Prisoners work in agricultural areas such as maintenance, animal care and woodland management. HMP Ford in West Sussex has a similar policy. Prisoners have access to community service placements, work experience and even paid work. The prison has a wide range of vocational courses available, and partners with sectors facing staffing concerns.

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