Cheshire village pub one of first in UK to offer prisoner apprenticeship

The offender will be working in the kitchen of The Partidge in Stretton. Credit: Google Earth

A village pub has become one of the first in the UK to offer an apprenticeship to a serving prisoner under a new government scheme.

The offender, who is serving time at nearby Thorn Cross prison, will undertake a Level Two apprenticeship working in the kitchen at The Partridge in Stretton, Warrington. It is part of a new government scheme that the pubs's owner Timpson Group has signed up to, allowing the convict to work as a chef de partie.

The programme, headed by the Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice, will allow prisoners to work as apprentices while still serving prison time to help with their rehabilitation and 'plug the skills gap'.James Timpson, Chief Executive of the Timpson Group, said: “At the Timpson Group, we have a track record of championing ex-offenders and providing them with employment opportunities that enable them to break the cycle of reoffending, reintegrate into society and make positive contributions to the economy.“Key to this mission is ensuring that offenders have as many opportunities as possible to gain skills and training while completing their sentence."

Novus, a prison education provider, and apprenticeship provider Total People will be helping the prisoner with their training. The scheme came after the Government changed the law so prisoners will be able to undertake apprenticeships without a contract.Richard Suttle, prison governor at HMPYOI Thorn Cross, said: “As an open prison we are committed to supporting the completion of work placements as part of a sentence that will enable prisoners to acquire the skills that will help them secure the stable employment upon their release that we know is so critical to breaking cycles of reoffending.“As such we are delighted to be one of the first prisons to be supporting one of our prisoners to undertake an apprenticeship and are looking forward to working in partnership with Novus, Total People and Timpson Group to ensure this new training route for prisoners is a success and can be made accessible to as many suitable prisoners as possible.”The scheme is part of the Government's bid to boost the employability among ex-offenders after they leave prison. Recent Ministry of Justice data showed the proportion of those in work after six weeks increased by more than half between April 2021 and March 2022.Skills Minister Andrea Jenkyns said: "This vital change to the law will not only help us to rehabilitate offenders, but it’s also plugging the skills gap for the future."Apprenticeships give employers dedicated new workers in sectors like construction and hospitality and it’s great to have such high-profile companies sign up to help prisoners turn their life around through work and training."

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