On 30 September 2022, new Regulations will come into force which will allow prisoners to undertake apprenticeships without the need for an approved English apprenticeship agreement.
Until now, it has been extremely difficult for prisoners to take part in apprenticeships. This is because apprenticeships usually require an approved English apprenticeship agreement, which is considered a type of employment contract – something that the Ministry of Justice had barred prisoners from having, due to conflicts between prison rules and both contract law and employment rights.
The new Regulations extend to England and Wales but apply in England.
These new apprenticeships will initially be rolled out to prisoners already on release on temporary licence but could, in future, be offered to other prisoners such as those serving time in open prisons or even, where possible, closed prisons.
So, what can you do?
Whether you already offer apprenticeships in your organisation or not, if you have the capacity in your organisation for an apprentice, this is certainly something you may want to consider. Offering an apprenticeship to a prisoner has the potential to do so much good by giving that prisoner the opportunity to gain new skills and improve their employment prospects upon release. This could, in turn, see a decrease in reoffending and really change lives.
It goes to the heart of what we talk about in our Ethical Business Project – the importance of using employment practice to build a society that supports everyone, whatever their background. In this video, we speak more about this with Darren Burns, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Timpson Group – one of the largest employers of ex-offenders in the UK.
If, for whatever reason, offering an apprenticeship to a prisoner is not the right choice for your organisation, you can also download our free social mobility toolkit for more ideas of how your organisation can make a difference to social mobility.
To discuss the new apprenticeship, apprenticeships in general, or how your organisation can help with social mobility, please get in touch with Alice Kinder.