The concept – where inmates are trained to get NVQ qualifications in cooking and food hygiene – has already seen criminals graduate into jobs as chefs at five-star hotels and leading restaurants. The Clink has 280 employers including pubs, restaurants and hotels ready to take trained ex-offenders.
Nicky, 55, a prisoner who trained at The Clink in High Down, now works as a commis chef at a four-star hotel. “When I ended up in prison I thought my life was over. It was this amazing charity that built up my self-esteem and a new zest for life,” she said.
Lucy Frazer, prisons minister, said: “Cutting reoffending and its vast cost to society is a priority for this Government. Training within prison leads to employment on release, which we know has such a positive impact on ex-offenders, their families and communities, and ultimately reduces crime.”
Chris Moore, The Clink’s chief executive, said its staff worked with inmates starting up to 18 months before release then ensured that with three months to go, they had a CV, bank account, accommodation and prospective job interview.
“The main difference with The Clink is that it is a seamless integrated programme with training done on the inside, support then on the outside. With us being an agency doing that, there are no gaps,” said Mr Moore.