WAMITAB (Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board) has been selected by the Ministry of Justice to provide cleaning, facilities management and waste management qualifications across Her Majesty's Prison Service establishments in England and Wales.
Following a transition period from August 2018, the contract officially goes live from Monday 1st April.
Chris James, CEO at WAMITAB, said: "WAMITAB's work with the prison sector has become a key strand of our activities over the last five years. We are known for supporting learners to make more of their lives; embedding literacy and numeracy skills into our waste management, recycling and cleaning qualifications."
James said there are "some 120 prisons in England and Wales, each with a need for waste management and cleaning services" and "neither cleaning nor waste management are innate skills; they must be learned".
He added: "Moreover, to do it properly requires structured training, practise and assessment. We take this very seriously."
WAMITAB is working closely with the prison estate to agree national strategies for waste, cleaning and facilities management to not only support delivery of qualifications, but also to help establish clear pathways to employment opportunities.
In terms of the skills and competencies needed, this starts with working with employers to understand where skills shortages exist, the type of qualifications required, and sharing with them the potential benefits of partnership working with the prison service.
Mark Hyde, commercial director, who has led on the prison programme for a number of years, said recruitment was "a real challenge in our sectors and, that challenge [is] potentially increasing as the impact of Brexit takes hold".
Hyde said: "Individuals going through the prison system will achieve relevant vocational qualifications as well as practical experience through the delivery of waste or cleaning services in prison, and those who are keen to progress into employment in the sector will be supported every step of the way."