Finding sustainable employment on release is key to reducing reoffending and that’s why the work that our Novus Works team have been doing at HMP Stoke Heath, in collaboration with the prison and our employer partners, is so key to changing the lives and future outcomes of our prison learners.
From Level One English to a job with Ask Italian
One of our learners at HMP Stoke Heath was able to find work with Ask Italian thanks to the learning and skills that he received there.
He first worked with the Novus prison education team to complete Level One maths and English courses, giving him the literacy and numeracy skills required do a Food Safety course with us. He then went on to do work experience within the prison kitchens.
Working in collaboration with the Prison Employment Lead we invited Ask Italian in to do two interviews. Our learner came across really well, he asked all the right questions and showcased all his hard work very well. He has some neurodivergent needs and was quite matter of fact in the interview, but Ask Italian were kind, considerate, understanding of his needs and reacted appropriately.
When he left prison, he was given a link to apply online for the position of chef but gave us a contact number that was no longer active. Ask Italian and our employment account manager, Nic tried to get hold of him and just as they managed to find a number for him, he walked into the restaurant to let them know that he hadn’t got the link. Thanks to his attitude and desire to change his life on release, he is now working for Ask Italian and is doing really well.
A partnership with Only a Pavement Away makes a real difference
Another learner at Stoke Heath showed a real interest in employment in the catering industry. However, he was leaving the prison with nothing, so our employment account manager, Nic arranged for him to get a release backpack from Only a Pavement Away.
These backpacks contain toiletries, a pen, a book and most importantly a mobile phone with £10 credit on it, which is vital to enable our learners to contact potential employers on release. As Nic could not take it into the prison and was going on leave, she worked with the HMP Stoke Heath IAG member of staff, who agreed to meet him outside the gate with it. This meant that Greene King, who had agreed to interview him after release, were able to phone him.
We worked with the Prison Employment Lead to sort out his right to work documents and he walked out of the gate with a huge smile on his face knowing he was potentially going straight into work. He is now working full time for Greene King and loving the job.
All of the work that we do is made possible by collaboration between all partners that work at HMP Stoke Heath: Novus works, DWP, Forward Trust (IAG) Prison Employment Lead and Novus Education team.
If you are interested in employing prison leavers, please contact us here.