You can now learn how to be a scaffolder in prison! Specifically, Brixton prison have introduced what is believed to be the first scheme of it’s kind, providing inmates with training that will prepare them for their release.

Apparently, this is important for the construction industry as this type of scheme could help the skills shortage in the industry. This has been set up by charity Bounce Back. The charity have stated that they already have a queue of employers who are prepared to offer jobs to individuals being trained under the scheme.

At this moment in time, four people have completed the twelve week course. According to the charity, this will enable them to start scaffolding work immediately following their release, earning them £100 – £110 a day. If they continue to progress in the sector, this could increase to around £160 in a year or so.

The ambassador for Bounce Back, Paul Elliott, stated: “what Bounce Back does is to give people who have made mistakes the opportunity to reintegrate into the community.”

“It builds confidence, gives them a dream, gives them a future. They can visualise an opportunity at the end of their sentence.”

Bounce Back’s important work also shows that it has a great effect on the individuals that take part in the scheme. The typical reoffender rate for inmates leaving UK prisons is 40%. However, for those helped by Bounce Back, it is only 12%.

Scaffolding isn’t the only opportunity on offer though. They also run schemes in dry lining and painting and decorating. They feel that the success of the scheme is down to a network of the industry, charity and government partners.

Debbie Akehurst, head of economy and communities at Land Securities stated: “it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

“People get a second chance, the industry gets skilled workers and our communities become safer by reducing reoffending rates.”

Dave, one of the inmates involved in the programme, embodies the success and opportunities that can arise from being involved. Four days after the launch of the scheme, Dave was due to be released. Thanks to the scheme though he won’t be leaving with just a criminal record. Instead, he will also have a diploma to confirm his scaffolding training and a job waiting for him when he gets out.

He also has an CSCS card as everyone working in the trade now needs one. Bounce Back ensure that the inmates obtain this before leaving prison so they are ready to work as soon as they’re released. This was not Dave’s first time in prison though. However, following his participation in the scheme he now has a new determination not to return.

“I’m not coming back,” he stated. “That’s it.”

Bounce Back currently train sixty people a day. They also have a high success rate with 85% of the individuals in the scheme going on to gain further training or employment.

The minister of Brixton prison stated that the charity is an “excellent example of how employers can provide invaluable work opportunities for offenders whilst in prison to help them turn their lives around.”

“Schemes like these can help to break the cycle of reoffending, which means fewer victims and saves the tax payers money.”

What do you think? Do you feel it’s a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.