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Wolverhampton prison in push for new business links

A prison in Wolverhampton opened its doors today to local and national businesses in a bid to forge links with the private sector to improve prisoners’ education and skills

The initiative at G4S-managed HM Prison Oakwood in the West Midlands comes ahead of the completion in summer of a new football pitch-sized workshop which will provide employment and training for up to 400 prisoners.

More than 40 suppliers to security company G4S, including vehicle management company BT Fleet, part of BT Group, and clothing company Dimensions attended the open day to look at opportunities to both re-shore work to the UK and develop training for prisoners in specialist industries.   

The new workshop boosts the current purposeful activity provision at Oakwood, which already includes carpentry, plastics and plumbing assembling, refurbishing electrical appliances and a call centre.

G4S operates five prisons in the UK and the company said that partnerships with business have a vital role in rehabilitating prisoners at every establishment they manage.   

Managing director for G4S Custodial and Detention Services, Jerry Petherick, explained:

“We know that offenders are less likely to reoffend if they gain employment after release and the expanded workshop will provide new opportunities for prisoners and businesses to contribute positively to society and reduce future victims of crime.

“Partnerships with businesses on the outside can provide a solid foundation on which prisoners can develop their skills and training and help to demonstrate their commitment to work to future employers.  This kinds of initiative has operated successfully in prisons for many years and I am encouraged that so many organisations have supported today’s event and are interested in giving something back to both prisoners and wider society.”

Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said:

“As the Prime Minister has said, we need a prison system that doesn’t see prisoners as simply liabilities to be managed, but instead as potential assets.

“The skills training provided at HMP Oakwood is exactly the kind of meaningful training which gives prisoners a chance to turn their lives around for good through sustained job opportunities when they leave prison.

“By working together with local and national businesses and providing prisoners with vital skills they need to find work, we can help reduce reoffending, cut crime and make our streets safer."

BT Fleet Director of Garage Services, Mark Wolfe, said:

“BT Fleet recognise the importance of this initiative and the difference it will make.  We’re discussing with G4S what opportunities there are to collaborate to provide vehicle maintenance training and experience to support the prisoner rehabilitation programme.” 

Commercial Director for clothing supplier Dimensions, Carl Tennant, said:

“Dimensions is keen to work with local commercial organisations throughout our UK and overseas supply chain, in doing so supporting community projects. We look forward to seeing how we can work with G4S and being part of the Prison Industry workshop now and in the future.”

For further information please contact Michael Baker on 020 7963 3171 / +44 (0)7711 385 303 or