Learning, skills and employment can help break the cycle of offending.
The Engage Development Partnership aims to pilot and test a number of projects that will
support offenders to increase their skills and improve their employability. Led by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the organisation responsible for the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) in England, partners will build on basic literacy and numeracy skills and vocational learning provision delivered in custodial settings to improve offenders’ motivation, skills and links to employers, which can ultimately lead to a positive employment outcome.
The focus of the project has been to pilot employer engagement strategies to support offenders’ access to employment.
The Engage Development Partnership resource totals £31 million and includes 150 partner organisations working with nine LSC regions and 14 probation areas.
- To pilot and test a number of projects that support offenders to increase their skills and improve their employability.
- Develop, pilot and evaluate innovative methods of learner engagement, targeting non-traditional learners from several local area planning groups and one area-wide planning group based upon career/life planning and skills development, particularly Skills for Life.
- Develop and pilot the 'users as developers' approach through ICT and other IAG and learning curriculum activities and tools, from an individual learner and tutor perspective.
- Increase the understanding of cultural and linguistic impact upon learning, especially with reference to Skills for Life learning.
- Extend the current local provision planning infrastructure in order to support engagement of voluntary, community and work-based providers and individuals.
- Develop an understanding of the barriers to progression within referral systems for adult learners.
- Develop an alliance to reduce re-offending by working with and supporting employers and employment networks to help them draw on offenders and ex-offenders as a valuable supply of labour and skills.
- In line with the development of the framework for achievement, develop accreditation opportunities of learning and vocational skills for offenders who are completing sentences in the community. Using NOCN progression awards (the recognised credit-based qualification) enable offenders to acquire recognition for learning and skills development.
- Seek to motivate and engage offenders in high quality programmes of learning to allow them to gain qualifications in employment sectors where there is local demand.
- Enhance the development of softer workplace skills, such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.
The range of activities includes:
- engaging employers and overcoming their negative perceptions about employing offenders
- vocational training by employers to meet skill shortages
- job brokerage to secure employment outcomes
- accrediting unpaid work experience.
LSC regional activity
Across the nine English regions, activity will develop, trial, evaluate and mainstream innovative methods of:
a) employer engagement by:
- supporting offenders through dedicated mentors
- supporting employers to reach a greater understanding of the needs of offenders
- providing work-focused support to enable offenders to take advantage of employment opportunities
- providing beneficiary allowances to meet additional costs of employment
- providing support services to signpost offenders to other services to address barriers that may impact on employment possibilities.
b) developing accreditation of learning within the Offender Behaviour Programme and within unpaid work
c) supported work placement projects, to break the deadlock of offenders believing they are unemployable and employers not wanting to employ offenders through an intermediate labour market (ILM) scheme, providing offenders with the opportunity to gain a stable period of employment.
Probation area activities
Accreditation of unpaid work through National Open College Network qualifications:
Painting and decorating
Merseyside ELEVATE: Intermediate Labour Market for offenders:
20 offenders will obtain placement opportunities.
150 beneficiaries will attend specialist motivational employment sessions.
55 beneficiaries will obtain places on further education training courses.
General offender behaviour programmes:
Links to regional pages
East of England
Yorkshire and the Humber