A new service at HMP Drake Hall, Stafford, will help women aged 18-25 to become the next generation of youth workers.
Run by charity St Giles Trust and funded by the City & Guilds Foundation, it will train women to a Level 3 qualification in Youthwork practice and provide them with the opportunity to apply their new skills through supported work placements with organisations in the community.
The training will cover specific areas such as mentoring, supporting young people at risk and conflict mediation. They will use this training to support young women and girls who are at risk of exploitation and violence with the aim of prevention and resilience building.
The need for this work has arisen from existing services supporting young women at risk delivered by St Giles Trust and other providers. St Giles Trust’s existing service supporting young women in Wolverhampton quickly became heavily over-subscribed.
Vacancies for this type of work frequently go unfilled yet women who have first-hand experience of these issues can face barriers when seeking employment. This lived experience makes them highly credible and relatable to girls and young women, builds trust and increases engagement.
Steve Clarke, Head of Midlands Services at St Giles Trust, said:
“This funding from City & Guilds Foundation will enable women to harness their lived experience of overcoming trauma and disadvantage and support others going through it right now. By providing this package of training and support to the women, they can move their lives forward and take others with them on a positive path, preventing future crime and strengthening communities.”
Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of City & Guilds said:
“The role of City & Guilds as a voice for skills has never been more important – and helping those who are particularly vulnerable as they leave prison, to access employment, is paramount to delivering our objective of reducing reoffending. This programme at HMP Drake Hall is particularly exciting for us, as it’s one of the first we’ve funded supporting women in the Prison Estate. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the funding – on those that participate in the programmes, on the organisations they work for and society that we’re all part of.”
Alongside work in the community, the women will gain experience working in the prison as Peer Mediators to resolve conflicts and tensions and become positive role models for other women in prison.
The goal of the work is to increase the provision of youth work in the area and ensure the services better reflect the people they aim to reach. This will help contribute to reduced crime and increased community cohesion.