Yorkshire prison launches bricklaying academy to help inmates build new lives

A bricklaying academy has been launched at a Yorkshire prison to help give ex-offenders the chance to build a more positive new life for themselves after release from jail.

Housebuilder Keepmoat and the Prison Service have established the academy at HMP Moorland near Doncaster. It is a Category C prison – which means it is a training and resettlement jail holding prisoners whose escape risk is considered to be low but who cannot be trusted in open conditions.

Keepmoat and the Prison Service have worked in partnership with the National House Building Council (NHBC) to deliver bespoke training that enables those preparing to integrate back into society with up-to-date skills and experience in bricklaying.

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According to a recent analysis from the Ministry of Justice, those leaving prison were significantly less likely to reoffend when engaging with a full time job, compared to those who did not. More than 300 prisoners are due to be released in Yorkshire over the next six months.

A bricklaying academy is being launched at the prisonA bricklaying academy is being launched at the prison
A bricklaying academy is being launched at the prison

The bricklaying academy will not only develop their skills in construction; teaching them how to use tools and equipment, mix cement and build various types of walls, but also give prisoners the confidence and belief that they can secure a job once released.

The academy will also help to address the construction skills shortage. The industry needs almost 30,000 extra construction workers by 2026 to meet growing demand in the industry - a daunting challenge after the construction workforce dropped by five per cent in 2021.

Tim Beale, Chief Executive at Keepmoat, said: “Of the hundreds of prisoners due to be released in the coming six months, a good number of them have previous experience working in trades. This presented an opportunity to help develop a programme to support those who wish to create a future career for themselves and ultimately, have a second chance at life.”

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Paul Cole, Head of Reducing Reoffending at His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service, added: “At HMP Moorland we prioritise the development of prisoners to enable them to gain meaningful employment opportunities upon their release. We’re proud to provide them with relevant skills and training, with an aim to help them find work and live law-abiding lives.”

Geoff Mann, Qualifications Manager at NHBC, added: “The training will provide an achievable and realistic pathway into a rewarding and well-paid career in the house building industry and we’re delighted to see these prisoners and others from diverse backgrounds taking up this opportunity.”