The pandemic led to a dramatic increase in unemployment, making finding a new job difficult for many, but even more so for those who have spent time in prison. Get into Working in Construction is a partnership between Hopwood Hall College and Inside Connections which works with prisoners and prison leavers to gain qualifications and secure employment upon release.
Too often, people leave prison ill-equipped to deal with the challenges they are likely to face in terms of securing a job. Having a stable income is vital for people leaving prison to have a sense of stability, afford rent, and be able to financially support themselves and their families.
We deliver construction qualification courses and employment support to people in prison and in community venues following their release. All our courses are employer driven to ensure we’re equipping our learners with the skills they need for the job market to maximise the likelihood of finding employment – one of the key factors in reducing reoffending.
We recognise the value of being informed by lived experience, which ensures that we understand all the barriers prison-leavers face and can provide the holistic support each learner needs. We speak with all participants prior to engagement to understand the tailored support they might need, and also connect them with a peer mentor with lived experience. This enables us to meet each individual’s needs alongside the qualification, whether it’s application and interview support, housing advice, or mental health support.
Finding sustainable work is one of the key factors in reducing reoffending. Leaving prison brings many challenges and we’re immensely proud of the part we play in helping people set off on the right foot.
Lee, one of the participants in Inside Connections, said: “Speaking with Get into Working in Construction was the first time in my life that I felt like I was worth something. They’ve offered me support with training, interview coaching but more importantly given me the opportunity to build a new life that doesn’t involve crime and drugs. This has made such a difference to my life.”