Employment-focused learning schemes to be trialled in prisons in East of England and the West Midlands

Prisoners will benefit from a programme of employment-focused learning and skills training to reduce re-offending, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has announced.

A personalised skills assessment will be made available in prisons and in the community to identify offenders who will benefit from the scheme which offers a range of training based on tailored information, advice and guidance to selected offenders. Training could include literacy, numeracy and language skills.

Two regions, the East of England and the West Midlands, will trial the initiative.

Skills Minister Phil Hope said: “Helping offenders develop skills and secure better jobs is central to the government’s aim of reducing re-offending.

“There is a ‘sea change’ under way in the learning and skills on offer to offenders. Testing these innovative ideas to improve learning by offenders will significantly contribute towards improving skills and employment, and reducing re-offending, as outlined in our ambitious Next Steps document last year.”

An innovation fund will be set up jointly between DfES and the Ministry of Justice to ensure that ideas put forward by regions not taking part in the trials are also considered.

Hope said: “It’s time to look forward to the next stage – putting ideas into action – and to make the vision of Next Steps a reality.”

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