Community – Individual Champion Heather Bryant , Galliford Try Holdings plc, for the initiative: “Employment and development opportunities for prison leavers”

Heather Bryant, Regional Community and Social Impact Manager for Galliford Try Building Southern, has successfully launched a UK first Construction Mentorship Partnering Scheme, to equip prison inmates with the skills and experience to confidently re-enter the workplace and pursue a meaningful career in construction. The flagship pilot scheme is part of a project to design and build a new state-of-the-art workshop at HMP High Down in Surrey.

Embedding social value from the start and setting out clear stakeholder engagement, Heather was determined to support High Down’s vision to ease the transition back to society and reduce the risk of reoffending through education and training. Working closely with the Ministry of Justice and the prison, Heather engaged with prison leads to create a bespoke social value plan with measurable KPI’s.

Galliford Try Heather Bryant Community Individual Champion Award CCS Awards

Construction Mentoring Partnership Scheme

The Construction Mentorship Partnering Scheme was designed to offer inmates safe and purposeful training and work experience on a live construction site at the prison. Each participant is equipped with a learning and development plan to provide a clear career pathway, including opportunities to build confidence through CV workshops and mock interviews. Heather supported inmates through the CSCS accreditation and provided learning materials for the Site Management Safety Training Scheme.

Through the project, Galliford Try has employed 8 prisoners on the construction site. At first Heather was faced with challenges from her own colleagues who had reservations about working alongside prisoners, but within a short period of time she was able to break down barriers and change perceptions.

Heather Bryant Careers in Construction Galliford Try prisoners project CCS Awards

Celebrating Success

Since being released 1 participant has secured employment, 2 have accepted job offers and another has earnt a sponsored apprenticeship with the intention to become a site manager for Galliford Try.

The scheme has had a transformational effect on the lives of former inmates, giving an often marginalised group hope and the chance to be part of a team, whilst helping them build the confidence and skills to successfully re-integrate and re-engage with society. It has also generated a £385,000 saving to taxpayers against the cost of accommodating re-offenders, whilst helping address the skills shortage in the construction industry.

Both Galliford Try and HMP High Down are planning to continue the programme across future construction works and is sharing learning from the scheme with Special Interest Groups within the MoJ Constructor Services. Heather’s hard work in developing and launching the scheme has created a new benchmark for the delivery of social value in the prison sector, and will have a long lasting legacy, impacting the lives of inmates today and in the future.


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