ESF’s REACH Project helped ex-offender fulfil his ambitions
Location: Nottingham, East Midlands
ESF Funding: National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
ESF Target Group: Ex-offender
Luke had never gone into further education, or found sustained employment with the exception of some bar work. This, with a developing problem with alcohol abuse, resulted in Luke serving a 12 month sentence in HMP Ranby for offending behaviour.
This prison sentence allowed Luke to reflect on the mistakes he had made and think about how he could change his life. He decided to use his time in custody constructively and gained employment cutting inmates’ hair.
With two months of his sentence left, Luke was referred to the ESF REACH programme. After his initial interview with REACH, his next action was finding a college or training provider where he could study and gain an accredited qualification.
Luke got in touch with the Cooper and Taylor Hair and Beauty Academy in Nottingham, who offered a City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Gents Barbering. He was then visited by Karen Saunders, Business Development Manager for Cooper and Taylor, prior to his release and was accepted onto the programme.
To start the course he needed financial support for his tuition and barbering kit, which was obtained through the ESF Discretionary Access Fund. Luke also needed 15 hours industry experience, which he gained by volunteering at a local barbershop. He was also given a pre-paid local bus card to pay for his travel to and from Nottingham for the initial month so he could attend training.
Luke continues to volunteer and progress at the barbershop, whilst working hard on his studies. Colin, the shop owner and manager said, “Luke’s a nice guy, polite and enthusiastic about barbering”.
Karen Saunders from Cooper and Taylor commented, “We all make mistakes, it’s what we do about them that’s important, Luke’s determination to obtain his qualification is inspiring, since leaving custody he has never failed to attend his college sessions.”
She went on to say, “I am immensely proud to be working with Luke. After his studies Luke is due to start full time employment as an apprentice”.
Talking about his time on the programme, Luke says, “Being on the REACH programme has really helped me, it’s given me the opportunity to follow my career path, where I would have struggled trying to do it alone. I’m enjoying life now and I’m not going to go back to the way I was before”. Luke will start his apprenticeship next month.