22 June 2016

A workshop which will allow prisoners at HMP Highpoint Prison to learn about vehicle maintenance in a bid to make them more employable has been officially opened.

Sarah Howard, President of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the ONE Haverhill Partnership, cut the ribbon on the new workshop during an event which saw local employers gain a valuable insight into training programmes held within the Stradishall-based prison.

The vehicle maintenance workshop is among a number of dedicated and realistic educational areas with prisoners also having the opportunity to learn carpentry, computing, bricklaying, plumbing, tiling and fitting skills.

The workshop, which is situated in the north side of the prison, was officially opened during the latest employer engagement event which saw a number of local employers taken on a tour of the prison’s training programmes.

Kevin Morris, from the prison’s education provider Novus, said:

“This is a really exciting day as a lot of work has gone into setting the vehicle maintenance workshop. It originally came about after we did surveys with the prisoners to see what training programmes they would be interested in. Our education success rates are above what is expected – 88% of prisoners achieve their original targets – and I am sure this workshop will be an important educational facility at Highpoint.”

Nigel Smith, governor of HMP Highpoint Prison, said:

“This is an opportunity for me to thank everyone for the incredible community support we have in Haverhill and the surrounding area. Without them, and our fantastic staff, this simply would not work. It is a privilege to be able to open such an amazing facility as the vehicle maintenance workshop. This is another example of how we are using work and training to help rehabilitate the men in our care.”

One prisoner, George, said he was looking forward to learning new skills in the workshop. He added:

“We are really fortunate to have these opportunities to learn train at Highpoint. Not every prison offers this, but it is a great way to learn new skills which will hopefully lead to getting a job when we leave here.”

ONE Haverhill supports new workshop

“At ONE Haverhill Partnership, one of our big priorities is to promote skills and employability for the local community. This is a perfect example of that.

I have followed the work of the team here for many years now and value the links Highpoint has with the local business community. I am always impressed with the work the team puts in and their innovative approach.

I fundamentally believe that education in prisons is a vital resource that offers prospects for released prisoners to rebuild their lives, gain employment and contribute to society.

We are all too aware of the impact reoffending can have on the community and it is good to see first-hand a prison that is looking to engage with prisoners in a positive way to give them the skills to reduce their risk of reoffending.

Sarah Howard
Chair - ONE Haverhill Partnership

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Vehicle maintenance workshop opens at HMP Highpoint