Forward, launched earlier this year, is the new name for the merger between Blue Sky and RAPt. Combining decades of experience engaging with prisoners and ex-offenders, Forward’s Employment Services includes a growing portfolio of high-impact Prison Education work.

We are now seeking consortia and prime partners who share our vision and desire for real impact. 

Our Rationale:

It’s all about employment. Our educational work is informed by our belief, based on 12 years of recruiting and placing ex-offenders into work, of the transformational power of having a job.

Our mission is to help prison learners:

Develop the vocational skills and real understanding about different industries
Commit to learning the right behaviours to secure and sustain a job
Believe there are employers who will work with them on the outside

We deliver a growing portfolio of accredited and industry-based training. This is matched with a range of employability interventions allowing prison learners to model the right behaviours that will help them succeed in work.

Benefits to our Partners:

Our prison education work operates alongside Blue Sky Agency, our pioneering employment agency directly and solely employing ex-offenders. Last year we placed over 200 ex-offenders into work with over 40% securing onward employment. For our partners, this means we can provide:

  • Real time, efficient and measurable information on the employment status of their
    ex-offender caseloads
  • In-work support (including support accessing ID and bank accounts) and access to vocational training grants for Blue Sky Agency employees
  • Recruitment directly from prison for live vacancies with employers who only work through Blue Sky Agency to source ex-offenders

We hold longstanding relationships with employers in a range of sectors, including local and national companies as well as local authorities. We invest heavily in understanding the operational needs of our commercial partners and develop training informed by the skills gaps they experience.

Tackling Barriers to Engagement:

We recognise the multiple barriers that prevent prison learners engaging in education. That’s why our portfolio includes a range of wellbeing, social and health interventions aimed at supporting learners to engage in their personal development. Our portfolio includes:

Social: Honesty; Building Family Ties; Who Am I; Emotion Management
Health: Alcohol awareness; Harm minimisation and drug awareness; Self-care
Wellbeing: Sleep problems; Anger Management; Mindfulness

Where We Work:

Our current contract portfolio includes NOMS CFO3, Learning and Skills Development Fund (LSDF), OLASS and Prison Reform. We operate mainly across Greater London, Kent but seeking to expand our prison education contract work in line with our growing employer portfolio and job creation.

Our Impact:

  • Last year we directly employed over 200 ex-offenders
  • Our reducing re-offending score (23%) is one of the highest recorded by the Ministry of Justice’s Data Lab
  • 43% Blue Sky Agency leavers secure onward employment – over half with our commercial clients

Interested in Working with Forward’s Employment Services?

Contact Kate Markey, Divisional Director, Employment Services, Forward Trust
Email: kate.markey@forwardtrust.org.uk
Website: www.blueskydevelopment.co.uk (part of Forward Trust)