Dozens of local and national employers were in attendance to see Sarah Howard MBE officially open the new Light Vehicle Maintenance workshop in Novus’ Education department at HMP Highpoint.
Sarah, who is the president of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, unveiled the facility during an Employer Engagement event, which included a tour of the workshop and the rest of the Vocational Training Centre.
The idea was inspired by feedback from learners, and plans were put in place following a curriculum review a year ago, when it was decided to introduce vehicle maintenance at HMP Highpoint. Building started in February and was completed last month.
Learners using the Light Vehicle Maintenance workshop have the opportunity to gain career-relevant qualifications, skills and knowledge with Novus, which gives them the chance to find work upon release, and reduces the risk of reoffending in the process.
Kevin Morris, Novus’ Education Manager at the prison, said: “We are very proud of our new workshop in the Vocational Training Centre. We listened to feedback given to us when we conducted our last Learner Needs Analysis, which reported that Vehicle Maintenance was a popular choice of career.
“It’s great to be able to show learners that their feedback resulted in the new workshop being opened, providing a fantastic opportunity for years to come.”
Sarah Howard praised the idea, adding: “I was honoured to open the new workshop at HMP Highpoint. It is an innovative way to upskill offenders.”
Tutors Robert Simmonds, Louis Price, James Brooks and Simon Hammond, along with Curriculum Manager Kevin Symington, have worked hard to get the workshop ready for launch day, as did learners in Carpentry, Fitted Interiors and Tiling, who provided support by installing a new kitchen area.
Pictured (left to right): Sarah Howard, Penny Askew, Novus Regional Director, Nigel Smith, Highpoint Governor, and Paul Donno, of 1 Accounts, one of the employers in attendance.