Employment programme gets newly released prisoners into work
A new scheme aimed at preparing prisoners for employment on release has seen its first group of participants find work.
Shaw Trust Scotland, an employment, disability, learning and skills charity, formed a partnership with HMP Low Moss near Bishopbriggs to deliver the scheme.
The pilot enabled the charity to deliver its Work Choice programme, a voluntary employment scheme that helps people to achieve better job outcomes, to eleven offenders nearing the end of their sentences.
Of the 11 participants taking part in the pilot scheme, six are all now in employment following their release. The remaining five awaiting release have all secured jobs.
The pilot was primarily designed to combat high levels of reoffending in Scotland. Research shows that a lack of employment, housing and issues surrounding relationship breakdown are the main contributing factors towards re-offending. Shaw Trust Scotland believes that one of the best ways to help reduce the cycle of crime is to help offenders find quality employment.
Ashley McCloy, operations manager for Shaw Trust in Scotland, said: “Offenders are less likely to commit crime after release if they are given the tools to change their lives for the better and can see a clear route into employment.
“Our prison employment scheme challenges conventional wisdom on rehabilitation by adopting a person-centred approach to offenders, focusing on individual needs and requirements.
“By providing offenders with this tailored support, prior to leaving prison, we help combat confidence issues along with other behavioural challenges posing challenges to those looking to settle into a normal routine.
“Given the success of the pilot, Shaw Trust Scotland is looking to offer the programme to more prisoners at HMP Low Moss, with a long-term view of integrating it into the core services offered at prisons across the country.”
David Abernethy, governor of Low Moss, said the prison worked hard to help prisoners to address these areas.
“The prisoners and staff here in Low Moss are hugely appreciative of the support we get from our partners like Shaw Trust Scotland and we believe that what we are doing here will not only help the prisoners who directly benefit but also the communities to which they are returning.”
Kevin, 38, from Glasgow (pictured above on right with employment coach), was one of the prisoners who took the opportunity to take part in the programme. During his weekly appointments with Shaw Trust representatives, Kevin Tough and Carol McLees, Kevin received computer training and one-to-one employment advice.
He also took part in mock interviews with real employers – helping to build his confidence and skillset – which resulted in a job offer upon release.
Kevin now works two days per week for Cumbernauld recycling firm Cauda Limited helping process bulk cardboard to be reused in in various industries.
“The HMP Low Moss programme has been excellent from start to finish and it’s given me a big confidence boost,” he said. “There’s not a huge amount of support for people immediately after they’ve left prison but the training I received in my final months, as well as the support I’ve had since being released, has been really helpful.
“They’ve put me on track to complete a construction health and safety qualification, CSCS, which is a big advantage when applying for jobs in the recycling industry and opens up a lot of doors.”