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Submission 106

AELP’s Response to the Education Select Committee Inquiry on Prison Education

AELP Response


The Education Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into how well prison education delivers the skills needed by employers throughout the country, focusing particularly on barriers to delivering apprenticeships in a custodial setting.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has a track record of working with other organizations on issues relating to employment, employability and skills provision for former offenders and individuals within the prison estate.

In September 2016, AELP and the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) issued a joint response to the Justice Select Committee inquiry into the Government’s programme of prison reforms, which set out twelve key recommendations with a focus on giving individuals within the prison estate skills training that allows them to transition smoothly from inside to outside the prison gates into employment, thereby breaking the reoffending cycle. In May 2019, AELP and ERSA produced a joint paper on the Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway in response to commitments made by the Ministry of Justice in its 2016 white paper to implement such a programme within prisons, which included further recommendations to break the reoffending cycle and address the UK’s skills gap.

Unfortunately, and frustratingly, the Government has so far failed to make progress on this issue over the last two years. Obstinate attitudes on the issue of prisoners’ education by influential decision-makers in key government circles, combined with an elitist view on offenders’ rehabilitation, have stifled any meaningful progress. This represents an incredible missed opportunity for both the economy and the wider society as a whole.

The UK continues to face a significant shortage of skilled workers which is likely to be exacerbated – at least in the short to medium term – by the introduction of new immigration rules. With the country now out of the EU’s single market, the Government should focus on training homegrown learners to fill skills shortages within local communities.

AELP believes that there needs to be a radical change in attitude at the heart of government towards the issue of prisoner education and skills training, which can play a fundamental role in delivering more homegrown workers to plug shortages of skilled labourers in regions across the country.

Read the full response here.

AELP’s Response to the Education Select Committee Inquiry on Prison Education

Submission 106

Last published: 19/05/2022