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Lighthouse Charity pioneers bold path for prisoners

08 November 2023

THE LIGHTHOUSE Construction Industry Charity is pioneering an innovative programme designed to reintegrate prisoners into the workforce and help bridge the longstanding skills gap in the construction sector.

The pilot project at Cardiff Prison embraces the support of the Lighthouse Charity, GLA Group and Central Group to offer specialist skills training, soft skills development, and an exciting pathway into the roofing industry. This initiative promises to not only empower prisoners but also changes the construction industry's landscape, bringing new found hope and opportunities for all.

Sarah Bolton, chief operating officer of the Lighthouse Charity, articulated the importance of this programme, "In our pursuit to bridge the skills gap within the industry, we're supporting a fully inclusive environment and engaging with individuals who may never have considered a career in construction before. 

Through this holistic partnership, we are able to deliver not just the essential vocational skills, we’re also ensuring easy access to vital soft skills training. Many ex-offenders could face societal prejudice and difficulties finding work. This programme will enhance their employability and empower individuals entering the sector to embark on a sustainable career, with the skills to overcome the daily challenges of life."

The Lighthouse Charity will be offering a portfolio of self-paced e-learning modules that allow flexible learning and cover a diverse range of wellbeing topics, such as Banter vs Bullying, Resolving Conflict, Managing Stress, and Understanding Anxiety, among others.

The GLA Group, renowned for their expertise in pitched and flat roofing courses, take on the role of mentor, delivering comprehensive training to prisoners with aspirations in the construction industry. 

Andy Bird, director of the GLA Group said, “GLA realise that it’s not just about teaching people new practical skills to help them when they leave prison, it’s having the skills to deal with the challenges we face on a daily basis that many of us take for granted but some cannot.  The Lighthouse Charity help to fill that gap with e-learning courses aimed at understanding and easing the stress and anxiety that life and work can sometimes bring up.

We are delighted to be able to collaborate with them and help reduce re-offending and give people the chance and opportunity to live successful lives”.

Completing this transformative cycle of support is the Central Group, a roofing and cladding contractor, offering individuals who complete the training an opportunity to pursue a career in the construction industry upon their release

Central Group commented, “The training and support networks being offered by this partnership are fantastic. They’re tackling the key challenges that ex-offenders face. We share their belief in everyone having the same opportunities to meaningful employment, regardless of their circumstances or background. Given the opportunities the roofing industry can offer, we’re willing and interested in helping ex-offenders secure a role in construction.”

Louise Morgan head of education skills and work at Cardiff Prison added, “What an exciting collaboration between the Lighthouse Charity, HMPC, GLA Group and the Central Group. This is an example of working together at its best. By working with partners, we can enhance our curriculum offer to provide the men in our care with the best education, skills and work opportunities to be successful in their goals and ambitions when they leave custody.” 

 
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