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Prisons competition helping ex-offenders secure employment in cleaning
An awards ceremony has taken place to mark the achievements of prisoners who took part in a national cleaning skills competition, the Team Clean Challenge.
The event, now in its fourth year, is run by Asset Skills, the Sector Skills Council for cleaning. It aims to demonstrate the high quality training that takes place in prisons as part of preparing offenders with work skills to help their rehabilitation on release.
"This contest has been extremely successful in promoting jobs in cleaning to prisoners," says Richard Beamish, Chief Executive of Asset Skills. "There are now 50 ex-offenders working in the cleaning industry as a result of the competition. Getting a job is a key factor in helping ex-prisoners settle back into society and in cutting re-offending rates. It helps save the UK taxpayer millions each year."
Despite the economic downturn, there is still a shortage of cleaners and more employers are recognising the benefits of hiring a well-trained ex-offender, who will have been vetted and sees the job as a chance to start a new life. There are clear career paths in cleaning and it can offer a rewarding and worthwhile job.
The Team Clean Challenge is an opportunity for offenders to show the skills they have acquired through their training in prison and meet employers who may be able to help them find work on their release. The competition also operates an 'open strand' in which cleaning companies across the UK enter teams of their staff. The skills competition seeks to raise the profile of cleaning and instil pride in those who do such an essential job.
The prisons challenge ran in several categories and the winners this year were:
Best Prison - HMP Erlestoke
Runner-up Prison - HMP Lincoln
3rd Place Prison - HMP Hewell
Best Young Offenders Institute - HMP Feltham
Best Supervisor - Christopher Burgan, HMP Hewell
Highly Commended Supervisor - Charlie Southgate from HMP Belmarsh Tim King from HMP Lincoln and Mark Huffadine from HMP Whatton
Best Operative - Mike Linker from HMP Erlestoke
Highly Commended Operative - Peter Smedley from HMP Lindholme, Sean Nicholson from HMP Lincoln and Shane Chapman from HMP Hewell
Captionn: from L-R, shows representatives of the winning prison HMP Erlestoke, with Simon Boddis, Director of the National Offender Service
8th September 2011