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Minister marks £2.5 billion employment and skills funding boost with visit to prison restaurant

The minister for Employment, Priti Patel, launches £2.5 billion European Social Fund (ESF) programme for England at Styal prison in Cheshire.

As part of the overall funding, £18 million ESF funding is part of a project in the north-west led by the National Offender Management Service to support prisoner rehabilitation entering employment. Trained work mentors will go into the prison to help inmates get support and address difficulties that might stop them entering employment when they leave prison such as; addiction, mental health issues or a lack of literacy. HMP Styal is one prison which is supporting female prisoners and the steps to employment.

Minister for Employment Priti Patel said:

“There is no better place to launch this funding than HMP Styal, where the money is already having such a positive effect. The funding announced today will support countless projects which are reaching out to people just like this one. It is an inspirational example of how the funding can change lives and move people closer to employment…”

As part of the launch the minster also visited the Clink Restaurant, a project that trains prisoners to work in at eatery open to the public. Prisoners are able to gain experience and qualifications in a real workplace, preparing them for a career once they have served their sentences.

Minister for Employment Priti Patel added:

“Groups like ex-offenders and people leaving care have more than most to prove and can make fantastic employees. Evidence shows they go the extra mile to secure results, stay in a job for longer, have a strong commitment to their employer and take less time off work. It’s not just about transforming lives – it’s also good business practice.”

Missed the conversation? You can catch all the discussion on EPALE Prison Education Week (25-29 Feb) here.

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