City & Guilds celebrates partnership with skills focused charity Bounce Back

How the City & Guilds Foundation is helping Bounce Back bring practical skills training to the people who need it most

11 October 2023

For the more than 145 years that City & Guilds has been operating, delivering skills training to those who need it most has been at the centre of our purpose. This is especially true for the work done by the City & Guilds Foundation, which holds removing barriers to employment as one of its central goals. 

This commitment to supporting those with obstacles on their path to employment is as evident as it ever has been through recent work with Bounce Back, a charity and social enterprise dedicated to helping people leaving prison into jobs. Bounce Back has been working with people in and out of prison since 2010, initially offering training in painting and decorating and now teaching a wide range of practical skills chosen to give those leaving prison the best chance of landing on their feet and in employment. 

The challenges of prison-based training

There are many challenges that face prison leavers who are looking for work, from employer bias to pre-existing skills, knowledge or qualifications being out of date following time out of employment.  

For training to be successful, every course or session must be designed with the goal of getting learners into work as soon as they leave prison, tailoring the content to the specific needs of learners who will have additional obstacles in their paths.  

While training and learning opportunities are available in prisons, many of these are not accredited, meaning that there is no proof of consistency in the development of skills. This presents a challenge for those who have completed training in prison when they come to apply for jobs. In spite of the work they have completed, employers may not trust the quality of programmes they have undertaken, creating doubt around their suitability for roles that they may have all of the skills for. 

Bounce Back and City & Guilds Foundation

Painting a room by sequence badgeThe City & Guilds Foundation prioritises finding ways to bring charities together and to support the work of organisations that uphold the values that are central to our purpose and the work that Bounce Back has done to support around 10,000 people since 2011 is something that fits this purpose perfectly. 

Bounce Back’s workforce has the training expertise to teach the skills that could change people’s lives and the Foundation has been proud to be able to both provide funding to support this training and now to find a way to solve the accreditation problem through the City & Guilds Assured recognition programme. 

Assured is a benchmark system designed to recognise high quality training that meets the standards that have been set over the years by City & Guilds. Assured accreditation helps training providers to demonstrate the strength of their training programmes while also offering learners digital credentials upon completion of their courses, giving them a way to show off the skills they’ve learned to employers. 

For Bounce Back, this will provide an additional legitimacy to the work that they do, showing people and organisations how good their training programmes are and helping to set their learners up for success. 

The new digital badges are available for learners who complete one of Bounce Back’s three bespoke short courses which have been designed to develop transferable skills that create opportunities.  

These courses are: 

  • Decorating a room by sequence – This is a one-week course focused on teaching learners how to paint a room efficiently and professionally.
  • Colour theory – Another week-long course which teaches colour theory and how it can be applied to helping clients choose colour schemes. 
  • Entry to the self-employment market – This two-day course gives learners some of the skills they will need to be self-employed such as market research and developing a business plan. 

All three courses are already having a positive impact. One learner who completed the Decorating a room by sequence course commented on the value of “Learning new techniques and aspects of painting and decorating that will improve my skills and have a better outcome when working in the future” while another Bounce Back participant who completed Decorating a room by sequence and Colour theory found that the training helped them to feel more prepared for life following release from prison “I did both badges and it has given me confidence to want to start my own business. I’m getting released soon and my tutor really believed in me.” 

What next for Bounce Back and City & Guilds Foundation

With the success of Bounce Back’s current work and the backing of its supporters including City & Guilds, the charity has been able to set significant goals for the future. At the recent insights event on the 27 September, Bounce Back held an event to celebrate their progress so far and share more about what they have planned. 

Building on the great feedback around the first set of City & Guilds accredited courses, there are more digital badges now in development which will support prison leavers both in their work lives and in their home lives. This additional focus on life outside of work is a crucial part of Bounce Back’s mission to improve people’s lives through skills development and these new courses will cover home DIY, energy saving measures, gardening and living on a budget.  

Bounce Back is also currently in the process of applying for assured certification for their Power Up course which has been specially designed to help learners handle some of the challenges they will face upon leaving prison. The course is made up of five learning outcomes: identifying positive support networks, recognising positive changes already and identifying further changes to make, understanding what is expected when on probation, understanding responsibility to disclose and writing a disclosure plan.  

We were proud to be represented at the event by our Business Development Manager for Justice, Communities and the NHS, Kevin Wilkinson, who shared more about how Assured is helping Bounce Back to support learners, emphasising both the value of accredited training to prison leavers and how important it is to the City & Guilds Foundation to have the opportunity to use the Assured programme for good.  

Working with Bounce Back is something that exemplifies the values of City & Guilds and the importance of collaboration for charitable organisations. By sharing knowledge, funding and capabilities, we have the opportunity to create meaningful change, using the power of skills development to make a difference in people’s lives. As we have been since we first came on board, we remain proud to support Bounce Back’s continuing efforts to remove the barriers blocking prison leavers from finding employment. 

Find out more about the work Bounce Back does here.

Learn more about The City & Guilds Foundation here.