National Careers Week- A CIAG Success Story

This week is National Careers Week, a one-week celebration of careers guidance across the UK. The Interventions Alliance Careers Information Advice and Guidance (CIAG) team support people within custody, offering them learning and employment opportunities in prison and as they reintegrate back into the community.

One of the programme’s recent success stories came from HMP Leyhill and a participant who, for confidentiality reasons, will be referred to as Prisoner S.

Prisoner S met with advisor Elaine Cotterell and explained that he would be unable to return to his previous profession after his release. Elaine encouraged him to think about any transferable skills he might have, and Prisoner S expressed his desire to embark on a new career as an HGV Driver.

Elaine described her first sessions with Prisoner S and how she understood his goals and motivations: “It became clear that he wanted to help others; he spoke often about ‘giving back.’ I learned that in previous prisons, he had been a Shannon’s Trust Mentor, where he helped others learn to read and write. Based on this, I felt that he would be suited to working as an Orderly, and he was accepted.”

“As part of his role, Prisoner S helped others to build their CVs and complete forms, as well as offering general advice about the prison regime. Alongside this, he wrote his own CV and disclosure letter, only asking me to check it. Using this, he applied to become a prison driver on ROTL (Release on Temporary License) and was successful.”

Despite starting in a more relevant role, Prisoner S wasn’t satisfied and knew that if he was to be better prepared for a new career upon his release, he needed to gain an HGV licence. Elaine advised him to speak to the DWP Prison Coach and ultimately Prisoner S was able to access some funding to start learning towards getting his licence. Prisoner S passed the test with flying colours, and Elaine encouraged him to start searching for relevant full-time roles, whilst continuing to work as a prison driver.

Elaine then received some exciting news: “Prisoner S came to see me to inform me that he has been offered an HGV Class 1 driving role with a logistics company in Avonmouth, with a salary he is really pleased with.”

Prisoner S provided the following feedback on the guidance he had received: “I believe that I am a driven and motivated individual. However, I feel I have been advised brilliantly by Elaine to follow my new venture – she was always there to listen and offer advice as to the way forward. She has always made me feel that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

Our CIAG services are available in many other prisons across the country and our teams continue to help individuals with developing a Personal Review Plan to help sustain motivation, identifying key strengths and skills, building CV’s, understanding the job market and much more.

For more information on the service, click here.

Interventions Alliance volunteer now furthering career with Ministry of Justice programme