The government has launched a new drive to cut crime by getting offenders into training and jobs.
Education and skills secretary, Alan Johnson, has promised £500,000 funding for pilot schemes in two regions to drive forward reforms to improve offenders' skills and jobs prospects to stop them re-offending.
The scheme is part of the government's Next Steps document which implements actions following on from last year's Green Paper Reducing Re-Offending Through Skills and Employment.
Under the proposals, more help will be given to offenders who show they are prepared to take action to turn away from crime and employers will be encouraged to start offender job schemes. Offenders undertaking training packages will be offered interviews and employers will get extra support to give work trials leading to jobs.
The measures announced include:
- Bringing agencies and employers together to offer offenders better options for work training and jobs, including employability contracts and a mentor support system
- Engaging more employers through a Reducing Re-offending Corporate Alliance, promoting the employment of offenders in areas of recruitment difficulties and skills shortages
- Exploring ways of introducing offenders into work through trials of 'recruit, train and interview packages' with advice on self-employment
- Implementing employability contracts setting out offenders' rights and responsibilities and helping them to develop marketable skills and get into sustainable jobs
- Introducing job developer pilots in six cities to break down barriers to offenders getting jobs, by giving employers tailored advice and support.
Johnson said: "Repeat offending carries an enormous cost, so