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Skills Builder programme 3

Ok, so I know I haven't been great at keeping you up to date with the progress of the Skills Builder project!!
Wanted to let you know though that we're still very much up and running and getting plenty of work done as well as offering opportunities for people to develop new skills and attain work-related qualifications.

We've been working on a dry stone wall up on the Roaches and last week were using those skills to repair a wall along the Caldon Canal at Hazelhurst Locks. We've also done footpath work up at Gradbach which looks great despite us all being eaten alive by the midges!! If anyone's got any good tips for keeping the midges away please let us know - we've tried various insect repellants and 'skin so soft' but none of them are really cutting it against the ferocity of the midges this year! Over in the Peak District amongst other things we've constructed a kissing gate between deer fencing which was a great 'problem solving' exercise and built a stone cairn with built-in bench (see photo). If you want to keep in touch with what we're doing and where, please follow the twitter feed: fitforwork1

Thought you might be interested to know that one of our team, who currently works with the rehabilitation company 'Fit for Work' has just been successful in his final interview for entry into the Nottinghamshire fire-service. He has made a fantastic journey from being an offender himself, through working with youth offenders and as a mentor for offenders on probation. He has been an inspiration for many and a huge support to many offenders attempting to follow the same route into mainstream employment. We know that if offenders can access employment the probability of them re-offending can be reduced by up to 50% and we are working towards facilitate this. 47% of our prison population in this country do not hold any formal qualifications, compared with 15% of the general population. Current training and qualifications we are offering include a Level 1 Award in Health & Safety accredited by the British Safety Council and a CSCS card which enables holders to access construction sites. We will be adding to these over the duration of the project and are currently looking at delivering training in basic literacy and numeracy including budgeting skills.

Skills Builder was funded as a 'pilot project' so if we can show it has been successful over the 18 months of funding we very much hope we can extend the time we can continue this work. I'm currently exploring a range of potential avenues to ensure this can happen so will let you know if and when we are successful!