A4e: Giving ex-offenders the right skills for work
For anyone newly released from prison, one of the biggest challenges is finding a secure job ... and keeping it
Too Often, offenders who cannot find a job that cannot get accommodation and rebuild a stable home life. Many will drift back into crime. But each offender is different and the support they need will vary. Services to help them must do too.
The best models of public services to help such people will be flexible enough to create tailored packages of services that meet and individuals's needs. New Start is a joint initiative between Gwent Probation Service, A4e and Jobcentre Plus to help ex-offenders into employment or further training leading. The existing Gateway to Work programme had poor retention rates, as clients often couldn't follow the attendance requirements because of community service requirements or a need forspecialist support. As a result, they drift back into crime.
The New Start pilot is a two-week course of tailored support for ex-offenders mixing practical skills (CV preparation, interview tips etc), motivational courses and basic behavioural courses. Clients have an option to continue for up to 26 weeks. The programme's focus is on early identification and resolution of the multiple issues which stop an offender finding and holding down a job.
Since implementing New Start, attendance on Gateway to Work has increased from 13% to 43% and over half of ex-offenders on the course have entered employment or accessed further training.