Unique training and skills partnership offering fresh start for prisoners

Joe Alekna from Workforce Solutions with managers Steve Perkins and Steve Burrows from Hewell Grange


A unique two-year partnership between a local recruitment firm and a Redditch prison is allowing prisoners to gain new skills to help them back into work.

Church Green West-based Workforce Solutions is continuing its successful link up with Hewell Grange and the National Careers Service, which has seen a number of men given the opportunity to improve their employment prospects and gain full-time employment.

Under the scheme, Workforce is training people who are about to leave prison and helping them learn a range of new skills – including forklift truck driving, customer services and warehousing.

The award-winning recruitment firm, which employs over 100 people, has also taken on a serving prisoner as part of their scheme in an account management role.

Joe Alekna, managing director of Workforce Solutions said: “To play our part in giving people another opportunity in life is fantastic.

“I am a really passionate supporter of the work we are doing and delighted to be involved in what I think is one of the most exciting and unique skills partnerships in the county. It’s about sourcing untapped talent and preparing them for the future.

“Working with our training department, the team at Hewell Grange are providing a platform which is enabling prisoners the chance to learn new skills and grasp opportunities.

“Once trained, we are helping the men to secure jobs which in turn is helping local businesses to grow. That includes ourselves who have jumped at the prospect of bringing more skilled people on-board.”

Steve Perkins, Business and Community Engagement Manager at HMP Hewell said: “The men being trained by the team at Workforce Solutions are being given the opportunities to develop their skill sets so that they can compete in the labour market and secure employment while in custody and upon release. This is an important element of the individual’s resettlement process and contributes to the national reducing reoffending directive.”

Steve Burrows, National Careers Service Advisor at HMP Hewell added: “We are proud to be involved in such a valuable project. I strongly believe that assisting men into essential training and in securing valuable, sustainable employment, will have a positive long term impact in their transition into the community and will also support their social reintegration”.

“It’s a hugely valuable opportunity that they are being offered and great for employers who want to take on staff that are determined to prove themselves and make the most of their lives.”

Hewell Grange is the Category D unit of HMP Hewell which focusses on reducing reoffending and supporting resettlement.

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