From 2016 to 2018, we worked on the Erasmus+ Inforex project, ‘Innovative ways of including low qualified ex-offenders and ex-prisoners to labour market’, with partners from across Europe.
What was the Inforex project about?
The project partners recognised that often ex-offenders leave the prison environment with little or no qualifications and minimal employability skills. So, the goal was to develop 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 supported the project with research activities. Specifically, we highlighted examples of best practice illustrated by organisations in the UK, such as Novus and the St Giles Trust. Both deliver excellent front-line education, skills and employment services to offenders across the UK.
Case study: the St Giles Trust Peer Advisor programme
In particular, the St Giles Trust Peer Advisor programme is a great example of how prisoners can gain skills and training. The programme assists offenders to gain a Level 3 Information, Advice and Guidance qualification whilst serving their sentence.
This training not only helps 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 St Giles Trust 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 Inforex project came to a close in 2018. 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.