St Giles Trust helps former prisoners break the cycle of committing crime, going to prison, committing crime and back to prison again for many years now, but recently set-up a special Skills and Employment department to help ex-offenders back into work, Kimberly Lopez went to find out more.
St Giles Trust have set-up a new scheme to support former prisoners into employment whilst learning new skills. Caseworkers, or peer advisers, are allocated to help the ex-offenders rebuild their confidence and self esteem to help them get, and stay, in employment after assessing their needs, background and current situation.
Carole Brown manages the section from the Trust’s offices over in Dalston, East London, where she takes on clients recently out of prison or on probation with the hope of getting them employed.
“It’s a work in progress”, she said, “We help offenders get the right case worker who meet with them to discuss their situation and find out how we can help them to learn how to present themselves in the work place, with their behavior and to have respect for others.
What do you do for your clients who have just been released from prison?
“We get a referral from the prison about a client who is looking for employment. Firstly a caseworker is allocated to the individual to find out how we can help. We then set up employment workshops run by coaches drawn from the private sector where we teach people about employability and why it is important to get a placement as a volunteer to help them understand everyday skills such as how to cooperate with others.
“We had one client who was homeless for a year sleeping on bus shelters, he was referred to my team, we helped him find some volunteer and as a result he got a job at the Chelsea Flower Show and is now rebuilding his life.”
What courses do you do?
“Training is held in the office in small groups for beginners who are not yet confident enough to be in a larger group. But the main courses are a level three advice and guidance certificate – equivalent to two A-Levels – to train employers to teach clients about employability.”
What do you hope to gain in the future?
“We hope to educate more employers so we will be able to take on more clients in the future and build loyal relationships with them.”