Through the Gates Support Helps Ex-Offender James to Secure a Better Future

At Fusion21, we’re proud to deliver practical construction training courses to inmates in UK prisons, teaching hands-on trades including plumbing, bricklaying, tiling, plastering, joinery and painting and decorating.

But our support doesn’t stop there - we also self-fund a ‘Through the Gates’ programme to provide help and guidance to ex-offenders, supporting people to obtain qualifications and find employment as they rebuild their lives following release from prison.

James, 41 from Kirkby is a beneficiary who is now taking steps to make positive life changes having accessed additional support from Fusion21 following release from HMP Liverpool in July this year.

He said “This recent stint in prison wasn’t my first, but I do want it to be my last. This time, when I was inside I had an opportunity to get involved in Fusion21’s Construction Academy which helps inmates to gain construction skills training.

“I attended the workshop five days a week and after brushing up on basic skills and achieving a Level 1 Diploma in Construction, I then went on to complete a Level 2 Diploma in Site Carpentry.

“I’d previously had a taste of working in the Construction industry but having been in and out of work I hadn’t had a steady job in years. Carpentry and joinery is a brand new skill for me and I was made up at the chance to learn something new and gain qualifications too.

“Attending the workshop every day gave me a sense of purpose and allowed me to keep in a routine – something that’s really important in prison. I learnt a lot from the tutors and enjoyed it so much that I became a mentor after completing my qualifications, encouraging other inmates to take part and helping them to develop their skills. I also studied for and gained my CSCS card whilst inside so I was approved to work on a construction site as soon as I could. ”

James contacted Fusion21 following release from prison – he had already lined up a job in Liverpool as a Handyman but needed support to obtain PPE gear and some starter tools.

“Knowing I had support from Fusion21 on the outside was a huge relief,” said James.

“You can’t start a job in construction without any equipment, so without Fusion21’s support this opportunity wouldn’t be possible. Regaining control of your life after spending time in prison is really tough but being able to tell Fusion21 I’d secured a job was fantastic. The help I have received to get me ready for work has been overwhelming – I wouldn’t have been able to self-fund the tools so this means everything to me.”

Dave McGuinness Social Value Manager at Fusion21 said: “We’ve provided James with £500 of construction tools and protective clothing to get him started back into employment - ranging from safety boots to a 55 piece toolkit. This is the first time in a long time that James has had some direction and an employment opportunity upon release from prison – he is thrilled and we hope that he succeeds in his new career.”

James added: “I have spent many years without solid employment and made a few bad decisions which I regret – and I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again. I can’t wait to start my new job and put my new skills into practice,  there is a lot of construction work taking place in Liverpool and I’ll be getting involved in erecting scaffolding, signage and site fencing whilst starting to put my joinery skills to the test.

“I’m finally getting a chance to turn my life around for the better thanks to Fusion21 and I have a good feeling about the future.”

To date, 118 ex-offenders have benefited from Fusion21’s assistance after leaving prison.

For more information about our range of community regeneration services check out our brochure or contact us on 0845 308 2321 to see how we can help your organisation to make a real impact.