Unlocking Enterprise Research Report

Unlocking Enterprise — Understanding the Benefits, Impact and Value of Enterprise Learning & Training in Prisons

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SFEDI and the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) have just released their research report on enterprise education within prisons.

The report follows extensive research into how enterprise education helps offenders reintegrate into society on release contributing to the national strategy to reduce reoffending rates. By making ex-prisoners more employable, they stand a better chance of securing a stable job or becoming self-employed.

The research has emerged from the extensive work undertaken to date within UK prisons and the realisation that there was a lack of evidence related to the benefits, impact and value added of enterprise education.

SFEDI and the IOEE have worked closely with the Ministry of Justice and HMP staff across England and Wales to support over 15,000 individuals to develop the entrepreneurial behaviours, knowledge and skills which will stand them in good stead come release, improving their employability and chances of successful rehabilitation and reintegration.

SFEDI Chair, Ruth Lowbridge MBE, says: “Entrepreneurship allows individuals to choose their own pathway, starting their own business gives them the ability to navigate the systemic discrimination they face in the job market.

This report shows the success that can be had in providing the resources and training that individuals with a criminal background need to rise above the stigma associated with their conviction and create a path to a successful economic opportunity. We’re striving to put an end to the revolving door within prisons and reverse the societal harms of recidivism.”

Research has previously shown that entering the mainstream workforce cuts the chances of a former prisoner re-offending. With stable employment or self-employment, there is less incentive for ex-offenders to commit further criminal acts.

This new report explores why inmates choose to engage with enterprise skills programmes, their experience of gaining enterprise-related qualifications and the value those qualifications can add come release.

With a foreword provided by John Timpson CBE, IOEE Lifetime Achievement Winner 2014 and IOEE Honorary Fellow who has a long commitment to supporting the futures of ex-offenders, this report is well placed to both analyse and put forward important questions and solutions to the reducing reoffending agenda.

Since 2002, Timpson have been committed to providing employment opportunities to ex-offenders with currently over 650 ex-offenders working for the Timpson Group.

John Timpson CBE, Chairman & Owner of Timpson says: “This report demonstrates how much difference training can make to the rehabilitation of people leaving prison and our experience shows the need for many more employers to offer ex-offenders a full time job.”

The report concludes that such prison education opportunities should continue and be rolled out more widely, helping those still serving their sentences and those re-entering society post-release.