Other Training

Back to life…offering offenders a second chance 

Background: In the spring of 2011, Construction Skills Solutions was invited to develop the construction curriculum for a new training centre at HMP Lincoln. The aim of the new centre was to provide offenders with a place of work where vocational skills could be learned in a simulated and real working environment and in so doing, fulfil some of the proposals outlined in the government’s green paper, Breaking the Cycle.

Unlike other training provision, Construction Skills Solutions would provide offenders with the basic trade and employability skills needed for a future job in construction. We would take this further by developing their skills to a level which was acceptable by a construction employer and then still further by providing professional careers advice and connecting individuals with real jobs.

The pilot was hailed a success and in autumn of 2012, we completed our part of the programme and left Lincoln to develop the scheme in another location. 

Latest developments: Shortly after leaving Lincoln we were delighted to have the opportunity to set up a new carpentry workshop in HMP Dovegate, Staffordshire. Since then we have taken over the construction department which includes painting & decorating and brickwork. Our aim is once again to take offenders and provide them – not just with construction skills inside the prison – but the self esteem, motivation and employability skills that they will need to operate in the real world of construction outside the gates. We also plan to set up real work opportunities on their release – a vital part of the rehabilitation jigsaw.

It costs taxpayers over £40,000 per person in custody. Of those prisoners who are released over 50% will re-offend; in the case of young offenders the figure rises to around 75%. Many prisoners leave with less than £50 in their pockets and no place to live and no way of earning money. It is unsurprising that they resort to crime as a way to get by.

There has to be a better way.

Construction Skills Solutions is just one of many providers, organisations and agencies who are bringing a chance for something better through their Back to Life programme.

For more information, contact Kevin Smeaton on kevin.smeaton.css@gmail.com
Heritage Skills

Currently, Construction Skills Solutions is one of the few training providers offering accredited heritage qualifications:

Level 3 NVQ diploma in heritage skills – wood occupations
Level 3 NVQ diploma in heritage skills – mason

Because of this, and because it is an area we have long been keen to expand, we are working alongside the prestigious new Heritage Skills Centre in Lincoln Castle to develop heritage courses in the built environment for the professional and those working with pre-1919 buildings.

Construction Skills Solutions also actively encourages young people to engage in heritage skills through a number of schools events held throughout the county: the largest of which is National Construction Week held at Lincoln Showground. Our contribution is the construction of a traditional roofing structure: a king post truss.

For more information, contact Coral Walker on

Skills Support for the Workforce - Greater Lincolnshire

The aim of the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme is to support small and medium size employers in the region to upgrade the knowledge, skills and competencies of their workers in order to boost the economy and create a workforce that can fill the 200,000 job vacancies predicted to be available over the next 10 years (as industries grow and people retire)

Construction Skills Solutions will carry out a thorough Training Needs Analysis with you, which whould identify any skill gaps or training needs that you may have. We will look at both accreditied training and tailor-made programmes to suit you and your workforce, whether on-site, at your workplace or at one of our training centers.

We will explain what training is likely to be supported and what is not.

All identified training which meets the criteria of the programme and all eligible participants will be fully funded by the project.

This programme is funded by the European Union's European Social Fund and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency

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