HC Deb 30 March 1998 vol 309 cc391-2W
33. Mr. Hanson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives he is undertaking to encourage businesses to utilise the prison work force. [35186]

Ms Quin

The Prison Service is keen to encourage businesses to use the work force available in prisons because this will improve prison industrial and commercial practices, and will enhance the rehabilitative function of work in prisons.

It is developing prison industrial and commercial expertise by providing staff training on doing business in the private sector; and by helping prison workshops to attain BSI and ISO product and manufacturing quality accreditation.

It is seeking to develop the abilities of prisoners through the provision of a wide range of national vocational qualifications (NVQs) and construction industry training (last year prisoners were awarded 17,309 individual NVQ units and 1,800 full NVQs in 48 different skills; and 5.5 million vocational training and construction industry training places were provided); and through training for work through core educational curriculum.

It is supporting prisons' efforts to market themselves to businesses through the efforts of a central sales and marketing team and by offering enterprise partnerships in a variety of industrial, commercial and agricultural activities. The Service has at present 12 such partnerships in, or about to come into, operation.

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