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On the pathway to employment

Novus learners have the opportunity to join the Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway with construction giant Willmott Dixon, after the two organisations formed a forward-thinking partnership to bridge the skills gap in the construction industry.

The Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway programme was introduced by the Ministry of Justice as one of a number of proposals to reform prison education as part of the Prison Safety and Reform white paper. Novus, Willmott Dixon and the Ministry of Justice worked together to pilot a programme in the North West.

Novus, in partnership with Total People, hosted a number of prison apprenticeship events to introduce the programme to offenders and give employers the opportunity to interview potential apprentices.

The first Willmott Dixon apprenticeship opened to learners who had taken up groundwork training with the Novus education team within the prisons, with learners working towards their NVQ with Willmott Dixon, supported by Total People, while working on site following their release from prison.

The programme is supported by partners within the Willmott Dixon supply chain. Going forward Willmott Dixon hope to widen the scope of apprenticeships to include other trades in the industry.

The first learner is now on the programme, having been released from prison, and is now working with Willmott Dixon towards their apprenticeship.

Sarah Fraser, Head of the Willmott Dixon Foundation, said: “This has been real partnership working in action. A team of people from Willmott Dixon, Novus, the probation service, the job centre and other support agencies have come together to make this work. For us as a business we really wanted to be involved in the programme and it was important to get this pilot off the ground. I’m delighted that we now have our first two apprentices working with the team on site.”

Novus Employment Broker for the North West, Paul Pritchard, has been working closely with Willmott Dixon to get the programme off the ground. “The Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway is creating real opportunities for our learners. We are working with Willmott Dixon to develop our curriculum to ensure our learners have the right skills to set them on the path to employment.”

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