Construction charity backs new programme to help ex-offenders enter roofing sector

THE Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is pioneering a programme which aims to help reintegrate prisoners into the workforce and help alleviate sector skills gaps.

The pilot project at Cardiff Prison embraces the support of the Lighthouse Charity, GLA Group and Central Group to offer specialist skills training, soft skills development, and a pathway into the roofing industry.

The initiative is designed to empower prisoners and change the construction industry’s landscape.

Sarah Bolton, chief operating officer of the Lighthouse Charity, said, “In our pursuit to bridge the skills gap within the industry, we’re supporting a fully inclusive environment and engaging with individuals who may never have considered a career in construction before. Through this holistic partnership, we are able to deliver not just the essential vocational skills, we’re also ensuring easy access to vital soft skills training.

“Many ex-offenders could face societal prejudice and difficulties finding work. This programme will enhance their employability and empower individuals entering the sector to embark on a sustainable career, with the skills to overcome the daily challenges of life.”

The Lighthouse Charity will be offering self-paced e-learning modules that cover a range of wellbeing topics such as Banter vs Bullying, Resolving Conflict, Managing Stress, and Understanding Anxiety.

The GLA Group, a specialist in pitched and flat roofing courses, takes on the role of mentor, delivering training to prisoners with aspirations to work in the construction industry.

Andy Bird, director of the GLA Group, explained, “GLA realise that it’s not just about teaching people new practical skills to help them when they leave prison, it’s having the skills to deal with the challenges we face on a daily basis that many of us take for granted but some cannot. The Lighthouse Charity help to fill that gap with e-learning courses aimed at understanding and easing the stress and anxiety that life and work can sometimes bring up.

“We are delighted to be able to collaborate with them and help reduce re-offending and give people the chance and opportunity to live successful lives”

Completing the cycle of support is the Central Group, a roofing and cladding contractor, offering individuals who complete the training an opportunity to pursue a career upon their release.

Central Group commented, “The training and support networks being offered by this partnership are fantastic. They’re tackling the key challenges that ex-offenders face. We share their belief in everyone having the same opportunities to meaningful employment, regardless of their circumstances or background. Given the opportunities the roofing industry can offer, we’re willing and interested in helping ex-offenders secure a role in construction.”