Reducing Reoffending Through Learning, Training and Employability Skills

This briefing will examine the latest development and practice in supporting learning, training and employability skills within justice settings.

The context

There’s clear evidence that learning and education can have a positive impact on reducing offending.

In response to the Offender Learning: Options for Improvement report 2010, the Scottish Government committed to ‘provide meaningful learning to offenders which they can undertake whilst serving sentences either in the community or in prison’.

With the Scottish Prison Service publishing a new five-year learning and skills strategy in 2016, the implementation of new community justice arrangements and the national vision prioritising ‘the development of employability skills, training and lifelong learning’, what progress has been made?

Attend this Holyrood briefing as we examine how education, employability skills and training can help people move away from offending behaviour

Key issues to be addressed

  • The latest developments within criminal justice affecting learning and skill provision
  • Person-centred approaches to help overcome barriers in learning, skill development transitions and recruitment
  • Addressing complex and differing needs of populations
  • Supporting people to participate, apply learning and develop knowledge and skills
  • Identification of learner needs and expected outcomes
  • Development of skills required for 21st century learning, life and work
  • Integration and co-ordination of services
  • Overcoming barriers, challenges and supporting access to employment opportunities
  • Good practice examples of education, skill and training provision in justice settings


09:45 Registration and Refreshments

10:25 Session 1: Next Steps for Learning, Skills and Employability 

10:25 Welcome and Introduction by the Chair

Rt Hon. Henry McLeish, Former First Minister of Scotland

10:30 Scottish Prison Service Address

James King, Head of Learning and Skills, Scottish Prison Service

10:50 Building on Learners’ Strengths and Preparing for Challenges of Responsible Citizenship

Katharine Brash, Director Learning and Skills (SPS), Fife College

11:10 Promoting Literacy, Literature and Creativity Through University-Prison Partnerships at HMP Edinburgh and Beyond

Dr Anne Schwan, Associate Professor in English, Edinburgh Napier University

11:30 Supporting Transitions into the Community

  • Translating training into employment – the reality
  • Employable or employment ready?
  • Training across the barriers

Alan Staff, Chief Executive, and Brian Lawson, Training & Development Officer, Apex Scotland

11:50 Questions and Discussion

12:20 Lunch and Networking

13:00 Session 2: Improving Transitions Within the Community

13:00 Coproducing Desistance and Social Integration: The Role of Social Cooperatives 

  • Social cooperatives embody a distinct manner of relating that is as important as participation in paid work
  • The role of work cannot be underestimated in variously contributing to desistance and social integration; the quality, conditions and relational context of work are critical in contributing to the outcomes
  • Innovation requires support from politicians and policy-makers to drive this agenda forward

Dr Beth Weaver, Senior Lecturer, University of Strathclyde

13:20  Case Study: Street and Arrow Food Truck in Glasgow

Inspector Iain Murray, Project Lead on Desistance Through Employability, Violence Reduction Unit

13:40 The Unintended Barriers to Employment

Dughall Laing, Recruit With Conviction

14:00 Good Practice Case Study

14:20 Questions and Discussion

14:50 Chair’s Summary

14:55 Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change

Who will benefit from attending?

Anyone with a vested interest helping people with criminal convictions move away from offending behaviour, and people interested in education provision, training and employability skills, including:

  • Criminal justice professionals: social workers, officers, support workers, throughcare officers
  • Practioners who work with people in custodial or community justice settings
  • The employability, learning, training and skill development sector
  • Third sector organisations and health professionals who work with people with criminal convictions


COSLA, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: 1 place £145 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635 

5 December 2017



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