HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 cc117-8W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the roll-out of the Transco model; and which other industries are training prisoners with a view to employing them on release; [164349]

(2) what the benefits to the Prison Service from the roll-out of the Transco model are. [164350]

Fiona Mactaggart

[holding answer 31 March 2004]: Figures for (i) less than 12 months (ii) between one and two years, and (iii) more than two years are to be found in the table.

Paul Goggins

The training provided by National Grid Transco is linked to job vacancies in the gas industry. The project is a good example of how employers and the Prison Service are able to collaborate to meet some of the staffing needs of business, while at the same time contributing to reduced re-offending by released prisoners.

National Grid Transco, with its main contractors, is training prisoners for employment as Gas Network Operatives. The programme is currently operating at Reading Young Offender Institution and Wymott prison. Prisoners from Rochester and Glen Parva Young Offender Institutions are being transferred to Reading to participate in the training.

By the end of 2003, 27 prisoners had completed National Vocational Qualifications to qualify as Gas Network Operatives. All 27 were offered jobs with National Grid Transco or one of its contractors and 24 are still in employment. Three have since re-offended and have returned to prison.

National Grid Transco is planning to expand the project to include a number of other establishments. They aim to train and assist into employment up to 250 prisoners a year from 2006. National Grid Transco is also encouraging other companies in the electricity, water, engineering and logistics sectors to adopt the same approach in working with the Prison Service.

Other industries involved in training prisoners with a view to employing them on release include construction, catering, car mechanics, sport and leisure, and transport.