INMATES at Scotland’s new “super prison” are to be given the chance to earn money behind bars by working in telesales, it has been revealed.
The prisoners at HMP Grampian, due to open in March, are to be offered the opportunity to work in an employability, recruitment and telemarketing contact centre, operated by the n-ergy group, a leading vocational training and employment company which specialises in helping prisoners to develop their skills prior to being released.
The telemarketing contact centre is to be established within a specially created enterprise wing behind the prison walls. It is the first time such an enterprise partnership has been established by the Scottish Prison Service.
Donna Turner-Kot, the chief executive of the n-ergy group, said: “Our employees will be managing the multi-functional enterprise to train the offenders in call handling, customer service, sales, and recruitment services.
“The training will be accredited and will lead on to employment preparation in readiness for liberation.”
She continued: “We will be developing an employers’ forum to secure a network of organisations with a social conscience to support its work which is to provide everyone with a second chance.”
A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said: “As part of the commissioning of HMP & YOI Grampian, we launched a scheme to try and encourage employers and organisations who could bring employability skills to Grampian to link up with us in partnership to provide learning and training opportunities for those in our care.
“We held a very successful event to promote the scheme in July at HMP Peterhead which attracted a number of queries from interested parties, and we were delighted with the response.
“We received a variety of proposals following this event and are still considering some of these. “We now have entered into the first formal agreement under the Employability Partnership Scheme with n-ergy Group Ltd and we look forward to developing the opportunities available.”
Up to twelve prisoners are expected to initially be offered work at the centre but the total could increase to 36 in the future.