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#myinspiration: Prospects helps break cycle of reoffending

08 October 2015

As the prime contractor, Prospects provides the In Custody element of the National Careers Service in its delivery areas and across Yorkshire and the Humber. The service helps offenders in the resettlement phase prepare for release and supports them ‘through the gate’, by offering Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG). Helping offenders into education, employment and training (EET) helps break the reoffending cycle.

In the South West, In Custody team has built strong relationships with employers, providing training and support to overcome challenges and prejudices in hiring people with a criminal record. Employer engagement is crucial as only 4% currently employ an ex-offender, according to a YouGov survey. In July the team ran an employer engagement day at HMP Exeter, where employers with current vacancies interviewed customers and provided feedback, helping them better understand what steps are needed to secure employment.

The London In Custody team is piloting a new delivery model, which provides consistent CIAG support to customers when they leave prison. One Prospects colleague who is a National Careers Service adviser, David, is working three days a week in prison and two in the community from probation hubs in Bexley and Greenwich. Customers who have ‘gone through the gate’ can speak to a careers adviser who understands their employment issues and can signpost relevant EET opportunities. David helps them rebuild their confidence; understand the job market and upskill. He also tells customers how criminal record checks work, and their employment rights and responsibilities.

The Inspiration Team in the West Midlands, in partnership with HM Young Offender Institution (YOI) Brinsford, ran five careers sessions for 56 male offenders aged 18 to 21 who were nearing release, or wanted to know their post release EET options. The events took place inside the YOI, and involved employers, specialist support organisations, training providers, National Careers Service Advisers and the Inspiration Team. Customers spoke with the different organisations, received CIAG and listened to employers discussing their own career journeys. One customer said: “I found the employers useful and today helped me understand what’s available when I come out”.

To celebrate the first birthday of the Inspiration Agenda, the National Careers Service in London, the South West and the West Midlands are running a week long social media campaign this week. Use the hashtag -#myinspiration - to join the conversation. Read more about the campaign and Inspiration Agenda.

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