GQA Qualifications are the awarding body working with prison education service, Novus, in a major nationwide offender rehabilitation training scheme.
The fenestration industry’s leading awarding and qualifications-writing body is working closely with Novus to deliver training programmes that raise the aspirations of offenders, increase their employability skills and opportunities to find sustainable employment, and help them to build positive futures for themselves, their families and communities. For almost 30 years Novus has been helping men, women and children of all ages and abilities, in custodial and community settings across England and Wales, to take new directions.
Novus works in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), Youth Custody Service, HMPPS Wales, G4S, charities and employers to help individuals turn their lives around.
GQA is now working with Novus at 14 of its sites and expects this number to rise over the coming months.
The pandemic has greatly affected how training can be delivered, and both GQA and Novus have had to adapt swiftly to online methods and in-cell learning. So far, all participating learners have been working towards an NVQ Level 1 in Health & Safety.
Before the pandemic, learners in two prisons had additionally been able to benefit from practical training resulting in an NVQ Level 1 in The Principles of Window & Door Installation. At the time of writing, it is anticipated that GQA approved centres will shortly be able to restart practical courses inside custodial settings. In addition to achieving NVQ qualifications, learners can also benefit from the fact that GQA is the sole issuer of CSCS cards for the fenestration industry. For ex-offenders to be able to leave prison with a CSCS card to present to site managers is an additional step on the road to employment.
Commenting on its relationship with GQA, Novus’s Awarding Organisations and Compliance lead, Karen Rose said: “One of the main attractions of working with GQA is its unique ability to provide a combination of qualifications plus CSCS cards. We are extremely pleased with the level of support GQA is providing, and look forward to working with the organisation to develop its involvement with more of our centres in prisons around the UK.”
Simon Smith, who heads up the support programme with Novus for GQA added: “We’ve seen substantial uptake in training from learners at all 14 prison locations, and I’m pleased to be able to say that we anticipate this not just continuing but increasing quickly. It’s extremely gratifying to be involved in such a worthwhile initiative. I feel that not only are we making a difference for ex-offenders, but we are also really helping to address the industry’s skills shortages too. I’m proud that GQA can be part of this whole rehabilitation process.”