From education to employment

Hants County Council to offer young offenders training and work placements

Hampshire County Council is to offer young offenders the chance to work for them. In an innovative project, which will receive funding from the Learning Skills Council (LSC), youth offenders will be offered training and work placements within the county council.

In addition, the council is encouraging public and private organisations to adopt a similar initiative and provide apprenticeships and Entry2Empoyment (E2E) schemes for young people at a risk of offending.

Hampshire County Council is the largest employer in the Hampshire area and it is envisaged that this scheme will provide for a minimum of forty young people aged 14-21, both male and female. Before being enrolled on the programme all individuals will be vetted to ensure any threat they may pose to the public is carefully managed.

The council’s scheme is being funded by the LSC. They had originally bid on a separate project put out to tender by the national Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS). Although short-listed it was deemed not close enough to the original specification which concentrated on adult offenders. However, the LSC, which oversees OLASS, was so impressed with the Hampshire bid that had `evoked great interest and enthusiasm” that they earmarked £220,000 in funding for the project for the coming year.

In a report produced by Steve Crocker, head of Wessex Young Offending Service, presented to the council’s cabinet, it is envisaged that the money will pay for personal support workers who will work closely with the young people on the project. They will provide intensive and consistent support to the 14-21 year olds, alongside job development officers whose role will be to liase closely with employers to develop placements and provide sustainability.

The council’s scheme will also cover those in care. Hampshire Childrens Services had previously set up a scheme with Balfour Beattie to provide a `Taster programme for young care leavers. Such was the success of this programme that Balfour Beattie employed five care leavers on apprenticeship schemes.

Related Articles