22 August 2023
People from South Yorkshire are studying distance learning courses with PET thanks to support from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Giving Back scheme.
After supporting eight learners in 2022, the Commissioner’s second year of funding means we could support Simon* to study a course in Nutrition for Physical Activity – building on the Gym Instructor and Anatomy and Physiology courses he previously completed while in prison.
Simon was keen to further his knowledge of how best to support people in developing healthy routines and activities. In his application to PET, he wrote:
This is something I’ve had an interest in for a long time… The jobs that I’m wanting to go towards all have this element in them and it is a good course to expand my knowledge in this subject. It will have a direct impact on what I can help people with in the future.
He added that he has spent time researching the subject in prison and that continuing his studies would have a positive impact on his future plans:
This course will benefit me greatly after prison because I’m wanting to become self-employed in this area. Having this qualification will enable me to go into further education and go towards my goal of being fully qualified to help people become healthy and happier.
Another PET learner funded by the Commissioner’s grant is Nigel*, who is studying Proofreading and Copy Editing.
Like nearly half of people in prison, Nigel had no formal qualifications when starting his sentence, but has completed a number of courses including the PET Creative Writing course.
Nigel’s story demonstrates the importance of increasing access to digital technology, which is currently limited in many prisons. He read through PET’s prospectus on a secure laptop provided to him by his Education department and used the device to complete one of our short courses which offer an introduction to distance learning.
In his application to PET, Nigel outlined his preparations for his new course:
I have my own schedule on my cell wall for study time and other activities. I also have a to-do list to help me keep track.
He told us that his course would help him secure freelance work after leaving prison, offering proofreading and editing services to small and medium-sized businesses. He added:
I am currently writing my own sci-fi novel which I will be able to proofread, and edit chapters correctly.
After completing his course, Nigel plans to apply for a further PET course in Creating and Starting a Digital Business, with the goal of creating a digital platform to grow his customer base after he leaves prison.
Announcing the new grant, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said:
I’m pleased to learn of the positive ways these individuals are benefiting from my community grants scheme, Giving Back.
I believe helping those in prison make useful time of their sentence and develop new skills is a key part of their rehabilitation and PET provides a range of ways in which they can achieve this.
If your Trust is interested in supporting people in prison access life-changing educational opportunities, please email our Head of Fundraising and External Affairs Cassie Edmiston.
* Names have been changed
© Prisoners' Education Trust 2023