Partnership offers training and qualifications to steer addicts away from crime
An innovative project is providing drug and alcohol addicted offenders with computer and work skills qualifications with the aim of steering them away from a life of crime.
Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust has teamed up with Surrey County Council and Services to Business at Guildford College to provide training for offenders sentenced by the courts to undertake Drug Rehabilitation Requirements (DRR) and Alcohol Treatment Requirements (ATR).
The lessons, which have been delivered by college tutors at probation premises throughout Surrey, focus on basic IT and work-based skills such as compiling a CV, interview techniques and how to look and apply for jobs.
Sonia Crozier, Chief Executive of Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust: "Offenders with substance misuse problems typically pose a high risk of reoffending and harm to communities. Very often they are people who have no qualifications or work experience and therefore have little prospect of getting work.
"The aim of this project is to provide offenders with the basic skills and qualifications which are a pathway to further education and training and, ultimately, a job. We are grateful to our partners for working with our substance misuse team to address offenders lack of skills and qualifications, which is a major cause of their offending."
So far 24 offenders have gained qualifications with seven more learners currently undergoing a computer course. Of the 24, 17 have achieved BTEC qualifications in 'Work Skills' which involves team work, self-assessment and searching for jobs. The other seven have achieved a level one Open College Network qualification in computer skills.
Angie Denyer, Assistant Director of Services to Business at Guildford College, said: "I am proud of the work that is taking place with our partners and their clients at Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust in support of these individuals. The students are finding the courses motivational and enabling them to build their confidence. Many have also expressed interest in pursuing further opportunities or courses that are available to them under this programme."
The introductory courses are delivered from SSPT premises in Staines, Redhill and Guildford, SSPT is also working with Guildford College to commence delivery of further vocational courses to offenders from its campus.
The DRR and ATR provide a minimum six-month treatment programme delivered over five days a week, where offenders are required to address their substance misuse and associated problems through attendance on a rolling programme of group and 1:1 sessions. Those offenders on DRRs are also subject to weekly drug testing.