Ex-offenders lacking digital skills ‘neglected’ in the workplace

Prison leavers are facing neglect when trying to re-enter the workplace due to a lack of digital skills, according to the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA.)

The non-profit charity, which aims to eradicate “digital poverty” in Britain, says that with government figures published in January demonstrating that the criminal reoffending rate has increased since 2021, there is a pressing need for UK bodies to provide support and training to help ex-offenders secure employment.

It has called on the government to ensure that prisons provide suitable access to digital skills and modern technology prior to their release.

The DPA believes that schemes like its Tech4PrisonLeavers initiative would largely decrease reoffending rates by providing ex-offenders with essential skills to make them "an asset to society and employers".

The organisation's two-year pilot project enrolled a total of 23 men who took digital and literacy surveys and 11 of which completed psychological scale surveys.

Results revealed that five prison leavers secured employment, while 35 landed mock interviews with potential employers, resulting in requests for CV submissions.

The charity said that psychological surveys evaluated the wellbeing, competence and aspirations of the candidates, finding an improvement in participants wellbeing throughout the project.

"The Tech4PrisonLeavers initiative represents a transformative step towards breaking the cycle of reoffending by directly addressing the digital disconnect experienced by many prison leavers," said Elizabeth Anderson, chief executive, Digital Poverty Alliance. "By equipping them with essential digital skills, we open up a realm of employment opportunities previously out of reach, fostering not only economic independence but also boosting confidence and empowerment.

"Ex-offenders are often left feeling neglected in the workplace, but this holistic approach doesn't just benefit individuals; it influences broader systemic changes, making our society more inclusive and reducing the likelihood that individuals will return to prison.”

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