Leading hospitality training provider HIT Training has partnered with The Clink Charity, an organisation dedicated to rehabilitating people in prison and reducing reoffending rates, to launch an apprenticeship scheme for serving prisoners.
The programme will offer hands-on hospitality training, access to workplace-relevant qualifications and a direct pathway into employment on release.
Candidates will be enrolled on to the scheme via a comprehensive selection process and will initially train for approximately six months alongside The Clink’s other students on-site. The Clink Charity operates restaurants open to the public, an award-winning bakery and Clink Events, a prestigious operation serving the City of London from HMP Downview.
On release, individuals will be matched to a job that fits their skills and lifestyle. Learners will then complete their apprenticeship with HIT Training who will provide expert workshops and face-to-face training on-site alongside the employer. Apprenticeships on offer will include Food Production and Commis Chef.
During their apprenticeship, learners will also receive support and mentoring from The Clink’s regional support team. This level of support includes but is not limited to, assisting with benefits, housing, reintegration and relocation as well as many other aspects such as food, accommodation and childcare.
The ultimate aim is that prisoners will continue working for their apprenticeship employer and successfully reintegrate into society while contributing to the success of the business they work for.
Initially, this pilot will be offered to learners at HMP Downview women’s prison in Surrey and HMP Styal in Cheshire, with a national expansion planned.
HIT Training Executive Chair Jill Whittaker says: “This is a ground-breaking scheme and we are very excited to launch this partnership with The Clink Charity who, like us, believe in giving those who want to change their lives a second chance.
“There are so many advantages to businesses taking on a prisoner apprentice. Not only do they make reliable, loyal and attentive members of staff due to the wraparound support they receive, but they can also boost motivation within teams, and increase productivity.
“By providing industry-leading training and qualifications, prisoners gain the skills and training they need to improve their employability prospects on release and contribute to their communities.
“We would urge all employers to contact us and get involved with the scheme and help reduce reoffending.”
Yvonne Thomas, Chief Executive at The Clink Charity, said: “We are so proud of this fantastic new scheme that will provide a direct route into employment for serving prisoners. The Clink has been working with ex-offenders for nearly 14 years and we have a proven track record of reducing reoffending.
“This is the first time a scheme like this has been established that combines high quality training and qualifications, direct employer engagement and the duty of care that is required to ensure ex-offenders succeed on release.
“We are extremely excited and privileged to be working with HIT Training, an organisation which matches our own values, and we look forward to supporting many cohorts of learners in the near future.”
To find out more about The Clink Charity, go to: www.theclinkcharity.org