Unlocking Potential

On Monday 26th February, skills bodies SFEDI Group and IOEE celebrated the national milestone of 10,000 custodial learners to benefit from access to their entrepreneurship education programmes and launch a new national research project, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, to explore the impact of entrepreneurship and enterprise education on ex-offenders.

Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths MP attended and spoke at the launch event held in Westminster.

In a government review published in 2016, entitled ‘Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison’, Dame Sally Coates highlighted the importance of self-employment as a ‘key route for offenders where the nature of their offending may make them unsuitable or unlikely to get jobs with employers.’

In response to this report, SFEDI and the IOEE developed a range of qualifications exploring the benefits of enterprise learning and educating offenders to develop key employment skills, which will enable them to secure work or set up their own business when they get out of prison. These are now being delivered in over 70 prisons across youth, adult, male and female prisoners.

A number of learners who have undertaken SFEDI/IOEE programmes whilst within prison attended the event and spoke about their personal journey and the powerful impact undertaking these programmes has had. There were also speakers providing insights into current best practice, policy and the future research agenda, including representatives from HMP Kirkham and HMP Standford Hill, Darren Burns of Timpson, David Glendenning of TONI&GUY, Janet Boston of Liberty Kitchens, Dr Matt McDonald of Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Ward of the Ministry of Justice.

Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

“I am delighted to support this event to launch SFEDI and Manchester Metropolitan University’s research project into the impact of entrepreneurship and enterprise education on ex-offenders.”

Ruth Lowbridge MBE, Executive Chair of SFEDI Group said:

“We are proud to be part of this essential move to empower disadvantaged individuals through enterprise and entrepreneurship. We have demonstrated that self employment provides a positive route for ex offenders to re-integrate with society and their communities whilst instilling a confidence that reduces recidivism. I am excited for the future and feel honoured to be able to contribute to such an important body of work.”