Over the past 2 years, CASCAID has been working with partners from across Europe on the Erasmus+ Inforex project, ‘Innovative ways of including low qualified ex-offenders and ex-prisoners to labour market’.
Recognising that often ex-offenders leave the prison environment with little or no qualifications and minimal employability skills – the project developed a framework to support employers to provide practical on-the-job training to offenders.
Working with partner organisations from Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Spain; CASCAID has supported the project with research activities highlighting best practice from organisations in the UK such as Novus and the St Giles Trust who both deliver excellent front-line education, skills and employment services to offenders across the UK.
In particular, the St Giles Trust Peer Advisor programme – which sees offenders gain a Level 3 Information, Advice and Guidance qualification whilst serving their sentence – is a great example of how prisoners can gain skills and training that not only help their own personal development but allows them to advise and assist others who may have lost their way. This highly impactful model was well received by other project partners and will form part of the European-wide research outputs.
A report conducted by PWC concluded that for every £1 invested in the Peer Advisor Programme, £8.54 in societal benefits is delivered – an outstanding model that if delivered at scale, could have a long-lasting impact on the prison system.
The project recently came to a close and the results of the research activities were presented at a national conference in Siauliai, Lithuania on the 21st of September.
The event was attended by over 100 representatives working with different vulnerable society groups including youth, elderly people, homeless people, offenders and families.
CASCAID has supported careers services working with offenders and ex-offenders for over 20 years. Our adult careers planning tool, Kudos AD, is used in a range of settings to support low-skilled adults and those seeking employment.