Inmates at HMP Haverigg are being given the chance to learn a variety of construction skills and gain a qualification thanks to Fusion21’s Construction Academy.
The programme ran by national procurement organisation and social enterprise Fusion21 is delivered in partnership with Novus and The Prison Service and aims to facilitate rehabilitation through learning; helping inmates to improve their chances of securing employment upon release.
Attending practical workshops five days a week, inmates are taught the basics of plumbing, bricklaying, tiling, plastering, joinery and painting and upon course completion achieve a Construction Skills Award Level 2 Diploma in Fitted Interiors.
But the support doesn’t stop here. After release from prison ex-offenders are invited to access Fusion21’s ‘Through the Gates’ offer which helps to identify any additional training requirements and assists beneficiaries to find suitable employment opportunities.
More than 100 ex-offenders have benefited from Fusion21’s assistance after leaving prison, including 32-year-old Jamie from Lancashire who is now successfully turning his life around, after leaving HMP Haverigg in October.
Having served a nine month sentence and been inside for the second time, Jamie was determined not to make the same mistakes and wanted to make a fresh start by setting up his own interior fittings business.
With a previous background in construction Jamie had embraced attending Fusion21’s Construction Academy and further developed his existing skills in plastering, tiling, brick-laying and plumbing.
Jamie said: “Fusion21’s Construction Academy gave me focus during my time inside, I had a renewed confidence after updating my skills and gaining a qualification was a bonus. I knew Fusion21 could help me to achieve my goals after leaving prison, so I contacted the team in October to help me with my next steps.
“Fusion21 gave me advice about how to register as self-employed and once this was completed I worked on a business plan to set up my own firm specialising in fitting kitchens and bathrooms.
“I had identified I would need several extra tools to help me get started, so I submitted a request for funding support and was delighted when Fusion21 agreed to assist – providing me with £1000 of tools and extra materials including a power toolkit and professional worktop.
“Receiving these items has allowed me to make a go of things. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Fusion21 – the help received both inside and outside of prison has meant a lot to me and I am really grateful.
“Although it’s still early days, my company website is now up and running and I have started to receive enquiries, in addition to doing a range of smaller jobs for customers. I want to put all of my energy into developing my business and I feel that life is definitely on the up.”
In 2014-2015 a total of 312 inmates benefited from attending Fusion21’s Construction Academy in HMP Haverigg and also in HMP Liverpool.
In addition to focusing on reducing reoffending, Fusion21 provides a range of procurement and community regeneration services for property, construction and the built environment.
To date, Fusion21 has created more than 3,700 jobs, generated more than £59m of community impact and delivered more than £147m savings through the procurement process.
To find out more about Fusion21 take a look around our website or get in touch by calling 0845 308 2321.