Historically RTAS has delivered a suite of courses designed to support learners into employment across the South West, Wiltshire, Dorset and the West Midlands. Utilising Adult Education Budget funding to deliver week-long courses that remove barriers to employment from those typically furthest from the labour market such as ex offenders, those with mental health or substance misuse issues etc. As a result Reform has built a superb reputation working with sometimes chaotic or vulnerable learners to support them and their individual needs to achieve outcomes and move into further training or employment. During this time we also built excellent partnership networks with local referring agencies such as JCP, Probation, Prisons etc working on an outreach basis, to train leaners in small groups in often remote rural locations, in a way that larger FE institutions struggled to do.
In this time we had been delivering some 1400 qualifications per annum across a wide geographical area however our prime contractor took the decision, in response to the devolution agenda, to withdraw subcontracted delivery of this nature. Clearly we hope that once the devolution issues have been settled and budgets realigned we can once more reach learners that are currently not having their needs met.
We put together an innovative program that saw offenders taught Basic Construction Skills in custody, with the provision of the CSCS card and test facilitated upon their release. This offered one of the very few genuine ‘through the gate’ services for prisoners and allowed us to support 38% of those we were able to contact into employment, a further 64% obtained their CSCS card which would enable them to start work immediately on a construction site. Again unfortunately this program was lost as new education provision, The Prison Education Framework, was procured in April 2019.