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Will Quince MP, the Minister for Welfare Delivery, and Lucy Fraser MP, the Minister of State for Prisons and Probation, joined Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group, Graham Razey OBE, on a tour of the facility, getting the opportunity to find out more about the work taking place to train residents of HMP Standford Hill.
The Ministers were also given the opportunity to talk with some of the residents of Standford Hill who benefit from the range of technical and vocational courses on offer through EKC IntoWork’s provision. These courses – which include trades like plumbing and electrical engineering, as well as cyber security and IT – are all tailored to the local economy to ensure residents have the best chance of getting back into work on their release from the prison. Achievement rates within the provision delivered by EKC IntoWork at Eastchurch are high, with an average rate of 98 per cent since 2015/16. It is aiming to deliver more than 660 qualifications in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Will Quince, Minister for Welfare Delivery said: “It was great to hear about the fantastic training opportunities made available by Eastchurch to prisoners at HMP Standford Hill.
“Helping people to find work and housing after they leave prison is hugely important, it makes a massive difference in reducing reoffending. Eastchurch is a leading light in this field, helping 98 per cent of people who join the scheme get a qualification.
“We have a range of support to help ex-offenders back into work, including placing work coaches in prisons, and I’m very proud of the work being done in jobcentres to help secure employment opportunities for people after their release.
“This meeting was a vital opportunity to learn first-hand from leaders in rehabilitation and identify where DWP can provide additional support.”
On the day which the Ministers dropped in, local community organisation Sheppey Matters was also at the building. The organisation regularly works in partnership with EKC IntoWork, building a strong link between the prison and the wider community in Sheppey.
Graham Razey OBE said: “I’d like to thank both Will and Lucy for visiting us. It was absolutely fantastic to get the opportunity to showcase some of the work we’re undertaking within our Eastchurch provision, and to outline the benefits it’s having on both residents of HMP Standford Hill, and the wider community. We’re passionate about developing strong links between all of our students, and the communities which we serve, and with the work we are doing at Eastchurch we’re truly living up to this ambition.”