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An ‘end to end’ technical route from entry into prison to entry into employment, education or apprenticeship on release — Weston College


Taking a proactive and creative approach that aimed to unlock potential and transform prisoners' lives, this national technical outstanding teaching, learning and assessment (OTLA) project by Weston College Prison Education Service sought to carve a pathway from entry into prison to entry into an apprenticeship on release from prison. The project focused on the hospitality and catering vocational sector. Early on during the project, the college found out that Department for Education rules do not allow a prisoner to be on an apprenticeship while in custody, so they had to shift the focus of the project to gaining employment on release. The project achieved several outputs and outcomes, including creating a personal development folder to capture learners' start to end progress and softer skills, enabling offender learning to start to measure value added in a similar way to FE colleges. In the longer term, Weston College expects to widen the focus to other occupational sectors, including Construction, Manufacturing and logistics/transportation and may also secure sponsorship of curriculum areas by employers. It hopes to roll-out the personal development folder to all prisons in the South West and nationally; and create a vocational curriculum designed around prison release areas and labour market information based on filling skills gaps. 

Weston College wrote this case study in February 2018.

As a result of the project, Weston College is finding learners are focusing 'beyond the qualification'. Assessment methods are still in line with the awarding bodies, but because learners appreciate that there could genuinely be an offer of employment on release, they are far exceeding the awarding body requirements. The evidence of assessment and also the individual progress they make is also recorded more accurately within their personal development folders. 

The case study offers three tongue-in-cheek comments for any future projects, based on their experience of this project: 'Hit the ground running, 'I hate boxes!' and 'Give up your day job!'.

Accessibility note: The case study and project resource pack are PDFs. The ETF checked them, and they are not accessible. Unable to edit these PDFs to a satisfactory level the ETF created an audio file of the case study, as an alternate format. The audio file is included below with the written case study and an annotated copy of the personal development folder.

Resource Type: How to - CPD, Case study
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