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Prison education inquiry: Education Committee evidence session on employability, skills and training

20 May 2021

The Education Committee’s inquiry into prison education continues with an oral evidence session focusing on skills, training and apprenticeships, and their role in improving the employability of prisoners.

With around 58,000 of the roughly 70,000 people who leave prison each year not in employment one year after release, the session will explore what is being done to help prisoners undertake education and training whilst in prison and move into jobs on release from custody.

The first part of the meeting will hear from three charities which work with current and former prisoners supporting their rehabilitation and pathway into employment, ensuring the present provision of education and training in custody is effective in giving prisoners the right skills to secure jobs or continue education on release. MPs are likely to ask about the capacity and resources prisons have to deliver education, support for prisoners with special educational needs and the importance of prisons linking up with employers and FE colleges.

The Committee will then move on to exploring with the Association of Employment and Learning (AELP) and Association of Colleges how prison education can prepare prisoners for moving into employment and education on release, including the possibility of starting traineeships and apprenticeships whilst still in custody. Witnesses could be asked about the effectiveness of the Prison Education Framework, which was introduced in 2019 as a new way of delivering education in prisons, and what needs to be done to boost traineeships and apprenticeships.

The Committee previously heard from Dame Sally Coates, who in 2016 led an independent review into prison education.

The inquiry links into the Committee’s overall aims and work examining the issues faced by left behind groups. Almost a quarter of those in prison have spent time in care, while nearly one-third have declared learning difficulties and 42% have been excluded from school.

A study in 2018 found that prisoners who had taken part in education were 7.5% less likely to reoffend one year on from release compared with those who had not participated in learning.


Tuesday 25 May 2021

Panel 1 at 10am:

  • Julian Stanley – CEO, Bounce back

  • Shereen Lawrence – Peer Advisor Network Coordination Manager, St Giles

  • Lisa Capper MBE – Principal and Director of Education and Skills, Nacro

Panel 2 at 11am:

  • Simon Ashworth – Chief Policy Officer, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

  • David Hughes - Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

Further information

Image: © Bill Nicholls (cc-by-sa/2.0)