Arriving at HMPYOI Glen Parva, Daniel’s relationship with his family had broken down and he had very few positive influences in his life. Deciding he would take every opportunity he could to better himself, he was determined to attend all courses on offer to him through Milton Keynes College, including English, Maths and Basic Cookery. Daniel was soon offered a job in the prison kitchen, helping to prepare meals for around 600 people a day.
Before his sentencing, Daniel had previous work experience within the catering industry, working in a Flaming Grill restaurant and also a small café; when he found out that he could continue learning within this industry and improve his prospects, he jumped at the chance.
HMPYOI Glen Parva, in partnership with Milton Keynes College, grew a relationship with Greene King, and together, developed an Employment Academy for the young people at the prison.
Having met the selection criteria, Daniel was given the opportunity to attend an NVQ Level 2 course in Food Preparation and Cooking, as well as a Level 2 course in Food Safety. Daniel seized the opportunity with both hands and after successful completion, was invited to an interview with Greene King themselves.
Daniel would be easily distracted and found that he learnt best from practical work rather than theory; this was taken into consideration throughout his learning, and after a lot of hard work, he has given himself the chance of a better future.
Greene King were so impressed with Daniel’s attitude and work ethic, they offered him a job and accommodation once released, 130 miles away from his home town. Although this was a very tough decision, Daniel decided that relocating would take him away from individuals who may drag him down and would give him real prospects to make something of his life and improve his future.
Daniel was met at the gates of Glen Parva on Friday 1st July, by Milton Keynes College’s Employment Academy Coordinator, Graham Keirle, who had been there for Daniel throughout the process. He brought him to Milton Keynes College to collect his birth certificate, then onto Oxford; Daniel’s new home, where he took him shopping for work clothes, took him to his new probation site, helped him set up a bank account and accompanied him to his new place of work.
Enjoying work as a Junior Chef, Daniel has started to rebuild his relationship with his family. He has made new friends, is happily living in Oxfordshire, and is constantly learning new skills.
Daniel said: “I am very happy here, I’ve met some nice people and I feel safe here and I can’t wait to move on and forget about my past and I am starting to now. Thank you to everybody for giving me a chance.”
Lesley Ann Rennocks, APM, and Chelsey, SOVA, are still in contact with Daniel and have visited him in his new home, offering support and guidance whenever required.
Lesley Ann Rennocks commented: “It was a delight to see how somebody has been so brave and taken this opportunity to change his whole life for the better, to re locate – moving 130 miles to start over.”
For Daniel, like so many others leaving prison, it would have been the easy option to return home and fall back into crime following release. Having been surrounded by negative influences and with his relationship at breaking point with his family, it may not have been long before he returned to prison.
Clive Anderson, Head of Learning and Skills at HMPYOI Glen Parva, echoed this, saying: “Given Daniel’s circumstances – only 2 weeks before leaving custody – he would have had little chance of staying out of prison for very long. He now has a fabulous opportunity to turn his life around, so a big pat on the back for all concerned.”
Stefan, Duty Manager at Greene King, commented on the progress Daniel has made so far: “Danny is respectful of others; he is honest and values loyalty. He learns things at a fast pace and shows initiative at all times.”
Alison Clarke, Governor at HMPYOI Glen Parva was delighted to hear of Daniel’s achievement: “This is great news and as well as bringing a tear to my eye, it makes me proud that we are doing things to make a difference to people’s lives and helping them change. A huge well done to everyone involved.”
Employment Academies are a great opportunity for prisoners to learn, develop and have a real chance of a crime and prison-free future, thus preventing re-offending. The Academies are expanding over many different industries, and all learners are guaranteed an interview if the course is completed successfully, it is up to the individual learner to put in the work and commit to changing their future, just like Daniel has.