Published: 00:01, 30 April 2014 |
Sittingbourne-based firm Mainstream Training Ltd has formed a partnership with the category D open prison where some inmates are approaching the end of their sentences.
The company provides offenders with licences, such as for LGVs and forklifts, and then gives them a job or helps them find work.
It is also the first course to be delivered by tutors who are themselves serving time.
Rochester, Blantyre House and East Sutton women’s prison are also involved - with inmates travelling to Standford Hill in Church Road, Eastchurch, for classroom-based sessions.
Training behind the wheel takes place at Mainstream’s site on the Eurolink estate, although there are plans to move that to the Sheppey jail.
The scheme is funded by charitable donations, including from the Salvation Army and the Royal London Society.
Paul Tolley, senior operations manager of Mainstream, said since the scheme started in January about 30 people have sat the course and nearly 20 have gone into employment.
He said there is a shortfall of about 100,000 drivers in the UK logistics industry and his company alone is looking to fill as many as 70 positions.
Mr Tolley said he would understand if people questioned why prisoners should be given free training and help to work at all, but said: “The government is looking to save money in the long term.
“When these people leave prison they leave with £46 in their pockets and many of them go back into committing crimes, whereas you give someone a job then the likelihood of them re-offending is minimised.”
It is hoped the scheme will expand to provide free training to prison officers, such as for minibus licenses as they are increasingly being called upon to transport inmates due to cutbacks.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.