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Cardiff and Vale College and the Clean Slate Cymru pilot project – preparing ex-offenders to enter the construction workforce

Cardiff and Vale College is proud to partner with the Construction Youth Trust, BAM Nuttall, The Wallich BOSS project, Cardiff Prison, Acorn Recruitment and Careers Wales in the delivery of the Clean Slate Cymru pilot project.

The project aims to support ex-offenders scheduled for release, preparing them to enter employment in the construction industry, whilst also challenging the perception of hiring ex-offenders as part of the workforce.

Regeneration and infrastructure is a key strategic theme of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, and other large capital expenditure projects are also underway and in planning.  CITB report expected employment growth of 2.7% in Wales in comparison to a UK average of 0.6%[1]. In light of this, construction companies are taking advantage of the vast resource in ex-offenders leaving prison in search of employment.

Over two weeks, Anne Reardon-James, Essential Skills Project Lead at Cardiff and Vale College, helped to deliver employability classes to the offenders in the prison’s education suite. Talks were also given on careers in construction and apprenticeship opportunities.

“It’s been fantastic to work alongside the prison staff and see the difference in improved confidence in the learners, from the beginning to the end of the course. Learners expressed feeling much more positive about their futures and have each made action plans to follow” said Anne.

The other project partners each delivered classes in topics such as confidence building and health and safety, each with the aim of preparing offenders for employment in the construction sector. Evaluation forms from learners were positive, and impact webs carried out at the start and end of the project showed that feelings around self-confidence and talking to employers, readiness to work and knowledge and awareness of job roles in the construction industry had improved.

Danny Khan, Governor of HMP Cardiff, said: “I’m delighted to see that there’s a number of local agencies that share our commitment to providing a rehabilitative culture here at Cardiff. I’m sure that these positive relationships will go from strength to strength as the Clean Slate Cymru programme grows.”

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “I am very grateful to all those involved for their work in creating this partnership. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who helps prisoners find work and we want to encourage more employers to take on offenders and help them transform their lives.”


Notes to editors

  • The CITB predicts UK employment in construction will grow for the fourth consecutive year at 0.5 per cent a year on average to 2022[2]. That would equate to 2.77 million people working in construction, slightly below the peak reached in 2008. This requires 150,000 new workers.
  • There are vast skills shortages in the market, with employers hiring from a ‘candidate short’ recruitment pool. Particular concerns surround bricklaying and carpentry, as housebuilding is a high priority area of construction due to housing requirements.
  • Anticipated infrastructure projects in the Cardiff Capital Region include 40,000 new homes, South Wales Metro and Central transport hub, new indoor arena and much more, supported by the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.




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