Our work helping ex-offenders into employment has been given a £100,000 boost thanks to a grant from The City & Guilds Group announced today (7 January 2016).

We have been given the funding over two years to further develop our peer-led ex-offender employability programmes in Leeds, London and Ipswich. Through this, former offenders will be trained to an NVQ Level 3 Advice and Guidance qualification and offer peer support to help other ex-offenders into employment.

Paid employment can reduce the likelihood of re-offending by as much as 50% and two-thirds of prison leavers identify it as one of the key factors in preventing re-offending. However, currently just 25% of people leaving prison enter paid employment on their release.

The support on offer to clients will include motivational skills alongside help with CVs, applications and job searches. As ex-offenders themselves, the team have a direct insight into the barriers people face when looking for a job with a criminal conviction.

The City & Guilds Group has announced it is providing two grants to charities – AfriKids and St Giles Trust – the first two investments from its £5m Skills Development Fund

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Trustee of the City & Guilds Group and Chair of the Skills Development Fund Committee said:

‘When we created the Skills Development Fund, we envisioned investing in high-impact projects that allow more people across the world to develop their skills and contribute to their local economies. AfriKids and St Giles Trust are both amazing organisations that do exactly that. We’re honoured to be contributing to and supporting their work.’

Rob Owen OBE, Chief Executive of St Giles Trust said:

‘This is fantastic news and will strengthen our peer-led approach of putting ex-offenders at the centre of the solution by training them to become skilled, professional caseworkers. The City & Guilds Group gives us the chance to take this further through offering them employability support. This will help them make that all-important transition towards full-time paid employment – the step on the road to full independence.’