Halfords launches training facility at HMP Drake Hall

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Retail giant Halfords has launched a cycle mechanic training facility at a prison, offering inmates the chance to learn the trade.

The so-called Halfords Academy at HMP Drake Hall, Stafford, will be aimed at women prisoners who want to train to be bike mechanics.

They will be supported by Halfords workers, and will help to increase the number of female bike mechanics in a profession which is traditionally male dominated.

The programme will involve offenders being trained and working on reconditioned bikes, which will be donated to primary schools in disadvantaged areas.

The workshop is the second facility set up by Halfords, after Onley Prison near Rugby, which has been running for two years.

Jill McDonald, chief executive of Halfords said: "We're very proud to launch the second Halfords Academy at Drake Hall and excited at the prospect of helping to tackle reoffending whilst also producing highly skilled colleagues.

"Businesses supporting rehabilitation makes perfect sense, as it increases the talent pool, lowers the cost of reoffending and contributes to safer communities.

"The more productive people are whilst in prison, the more they can learn and the better their chances of succeeding once they leave."

Justice minister Philip Lee, who opened the new centre, said: "This is an excellent scheme which gives women the vocational skills and education they need in preparation for release.

"It will give them a new start - helping to reduce reoffending and turn their backs on crime.

"We are committed to helping all offenders turn their lives around so they don't get stuck in the cycle of crime.

"We want to see offenders entering the workplace and making a success of their lives."

Source: BT