Current Employee Stories - Education Manager


The next in our series of Offender Learning employee experiences, this time featuring an Education Manager.


“When I started 10 years ago as a 'Sessional Lecturer' I remember finding the first few months a very steep learning curve. I had never taught before and I was still learning more about my own vocation but eager to share whatever I could with the learners.  I was encouraged at that early time by the education manager to make a go of a full career in OLASS learning and skills, taking on a PGCE at that time.  I took on my own class a year and a half in, designing my own course and trying new technology out in classes – something that would have taken far longer outside the Offender Learning Sector.  Over the years I progressed to team leader and developed enough to start a path into management. 

Throughout this journey, the key for myself has been the people - my colleagues in education, the establishment's and other partnership staff, all of us working towards reducing re-offending, really does help improve prisoners lives for themselves.  Together with setup example and opportunity for adults to make their own decisions and changes.  The impact can be wider than first realized too.  Prisoners' families and friends, their immediate communities, and their future employers or customers if they go into self-employment, all benefit from the positive experience that our work towards reducing re-offending has.

We get many letters from learners, just to say thank you for helping and supporting their own learning.  Once such case recently has helped to continue one learners ambition to become a professional barber - our staff have worked on creating and quality assuring a Level 3 NVQ Barbering course. To enroll on the courses, the learner was also supported in making a successful application to the 24+ loan.

The Founding Highways Maintenance (street works) tutor has made links with Highways maintenance agencies, inviting them into the establishment to gain an insight into the work completed and communicate with the learners.  From this initial introduction, over the years the teacher has made recommendations to the companies and supported the learners before and after custodial release to apply for positions and go to interview.  Over the 8 years, 73 applicants to Highways maintenance companies have been successful in attaining employment.

Every day connections are made between learners and their increasing confidence of the skills and knowledge they can gain in OLASS, it is a challenging experience for both prisoner and staff, but the change can be enormously satisfying to see when it appears and stays.”

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