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Apprenticeships for prisoners launched in bid to cut crime

Prison education provider Novus and apprenticeships organisation Total People have teamed up with retail chain Timpson Group to offer one of the first apprenticeships to a prisoner at an open prison in England.

Under a landmark change to legislation announced by the Department for Education and Ministry of Justice on 4 October 2022, prisoners in open prisons are now able to begin an apprenticeship while serving their sentence.

One of the first individuals to benefit from this policy shift is a prisoner at HMPYOI Thorn Cross and will be a learner embarking on a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Hospitality, working and training as a chef de partie at The Partridge, a Timpson Group owned gastropub and bed and breakfast in Cheshire.

In addition to the partnership with Timpson Group and Total People, more learners with Novus are set to start apprenticeships with brewery and pub chain Greene King. The news follows a significant statement of intent from Novus to make available as many apprenticeships as possible.

Peter Cox, Managing Director of Novus, said: “We are delighted that Novus learners are among the first group of serving prisoners to enrol on apprenticeships. This important initiative offers prisoners the opportunity to develop new skills and acquire valuable experience of the workplace, which will put them in a strong position to secure stable employment upon release, reducing the risk of reoffending.

“We are proud to be offering one of the very first prisoner apprenticeships alongside our sister organisation, Total People, the Timpson Group and Greene King on this ground-breaking reform. We are looking forward to utilising our 30 years of experience in offender learning to support more prisoners in accessing this new training route.”

Richard Suttle, Prison Governor at HMPYOI Thorn Cross, commented: “As an open prison we are committed to supporting the completion of work placements as part of a sentence that will enable prisoners to acquire the skills that will help them secure the stable employment upon their release that we know is so critical to breaking cycles of reoffending.”

Novus and Total People are both part of LTE Group, the UK’s largest social enterprise dedicated to education, with the partnership highlighting the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing in the skills and training sector.