Vocational training in prisons


Prison education has expanded rapidly in recent years. Vocational training is now offered in all sorts of sectors, including Horticulture, Carpentry and even Barbering. This Case Study looks at the changes in the prison education system and how you can benefit from it.


Prison education is fast being considered the most effective way of rehabilitating inmates. Numerous reports have highlighted that when engaged in education and able to leave prison with hopes for the future, re-offending rates drop considerably. These findings have led to increased investment in the sector, as well as Michael Gove's plans for 'earned release'. The idea behind the earned release scheme is that when there is good behaviour, alongside significant progress in offender education, inmates will be eligible to have their serving time reduced. 

With increasing levels of investment in the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS), we have seen FE staff from across the country moving to the sector in order take advantage of the great benefits available. This has developed the level of quality in the OLASS sector considerably, leading to some of the first Ofsted 'Outstanding' ratings in prisons, with more on the way!


One of the key reasons behind the improvement in performance for education in prisons is the opportunities afforded to inmates in terms of which subject they study. No longer are prisoners forced to learn things that will have no application for them on the outside, with a great range of vocational subjects available. The opportunity for prisoners to gain practical qualifications in areas of interest, such as Horticulture or Carpentry, has led to higher participation levels, as well as lower reoffending rates.

With an increase in subjects available, there is also the additional requirement for more inspirational, effective trainers. Many prisons throughout the country are looking for trainers in a range of subjects right now. Some of the benefits include:

  • Fantastic career progression - staff from all areas are eligible for senior roles
  • Small, manageable class sizes - No having to shout over 30 screaming kids
  • Fantastic control over curriculum - Teach your subject, your way
  • Excellent health and pension schemes


For some of the vocational roles available, please click the link below:

Vocational roles

Alternatively, to find a vocational role by sector, follow one of the links below:

Horticulture       Construction     Hair and Beauty




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