‘Education in prison should give individuals the skills they need to unlock their potential, gain employment, and become assets to their communities. It is one of the pillars of effective rehabilitation. Education should build social capital and improve the well-being of prisoners during their sentences.’
Dame Sally Coates, Unlocking Potential, 2016
License to Learn is a new and innovative programme, based around education in its broadest sense, and designed to help those with previous convictions to find their purpose. Rooted in theory, practice and experience License to Learn supports people to make the changes they wish to see in their life.
Licence to Learn has three distinct programmes which can be offered all together or as a group. Importantly they can all be offered as standalone programmes or support existing activities to help ensure a successful intervention:
Learning for Education – Supporting groups and individuals into FE or HE and is more centred on personal support and advocacy. In other words if an individual has a past or previous convictions which they feel may be a barrier, it is about supporting them into college or university. This is typically through a process of advocacy, so that colleges and universities can see a person and a context behind an application. Support is also available to support their transition into education from a previous environment, especially at the beginning when they are finding their feet.
Learning for Employment – helps individuals and groups become more employment focused and job ready. It tackles job-search criteria, CVs, application forms, interviews, etc. Crucially it includes the issue of disclosure of criminal convictions as this is often perceived as a barrier to employment by individuals fearing the worst. This programme aims to empower them to understand what they is meant by disclosure, and (most importantly) how to present this information effectively to maximise the chances of employment.
Learning for Self-employment – acknowledges that for some people they feel self-employment is their best way forward. This workshop tackles all the issues to guide them through the process of setting up their own business. It includes lots of practical suggestions of ways forward and where they can go for support and assistance. Examples of individuals from offending backgrounds who have written their own future are provided.