A symposium has enabled stakeholders across North Wales to discover how they can work in partnership with the prison being built in Wrexham.
NOMS joined up with local authorities, work and education providers to maximise the benefits created by the new prison in Wales.
The North Wales Employment and Skills Symposium was hosted by NOMS, Lend Lease, Wrexham Council and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board with the Minister for Wales Alun Cairns opening the event.
There were three workshops focusing on apprenticeships, work placements and local employment during construction. By the end of the event more than 60 pledges to the prison project were made by 22 organisations.
Councillor Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Collaboration and Partnerships from Wrexham Council said: “The symposium was an excellent opportunity for stakeholders across North Wales to see how they can work in partnership to carry out the commitments relating to apprenticeships, work placements and local employment associated with the prison build.
“Already over £1.1 million of contracts have been awarded to local businesses and 80% of those employed come from the local area. We are confident that we will continue to see the area benefit over the coming months and years.”
It was announced this week that the prison will be operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service with 34% of the services provided by private and voluntary sectors, including the large workshop complex on site. Future events will be held to help the community understand how a prison is run and what opportunities there will be in the area once the prison is operational in 2017.
Sarah Payne, Director of NOMS in Wales, spoke at the symposium and says: “I saw the event as the start of a long term relationship with the community of Wrexham.
“I was delighted by the support there was for the prison and the understanding of our commitment to changing lives.
“We all know that if we in the prison and probation service are to give offenders the best chance of returning to a productive life, we need to work with external partners and the community.”
The prison in Wrexham will be the largest in England and Wales and will provide 2,106 male category C places with a small remand function.
In addition to places for education and resettlement, there will be 12 large workshop spaces that can be used flexibly for a range of work and skills training activities and a recycling unit.