Prisoners’ Education Trust appoints Paul Kelly as new Chair

Home > Prisoners’ Education Trust appoints Paul Kelly as new Chair

08 February 2024

A learner studying a Maths distance learning course in his room.

Paul Kelly has been appointed as the new Chair of Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET).

Paul has a background in the private sector, including as Vice-President (Corporate Affairs) at Asda Walmart and Group Corporate Affairs Director at Compass Group.

He has previously been a Trustee of The Lowry in Salford, a Board Member at the School Food Trust and Chair of Phoenix Dance Theatre.

More recently, Paul has managed the Ministry of Justice-funded Engaging People on Probation project and volunteered for St Giles Trust. Paul has lived experience of the criminal justice system.

A pivotal time for prison education

Paul joins PET at a pivotal time for prison education. Access to education can transform the lives of people in prison, but we know that the education that is currently available is too often not nearly good enough.

The current development of a new prison education service is therefore an important opportunity to improve provision, helping people in prison to develop the skills and knowledge that they need to thrive when released.

Meanwhile, PET continues to provide an essential service, offering over 130 distance learning courses and associated information, advice and guidance to people in prison.

During 2023 we supported more than 1,300 people to study, giving them the skills and qualifications to build brighter futures.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul said:

I am delighted to have been appointed as the new Chair of PET and to be working alongside a dedicated and passionate team of trustees and staff.

For over 30 years PET has been at the leading edge of funding courses which would not otherwise be accessible to those in prison.

Through my own lived experience of the criminal justice system, I have seen at first-hand how all too often prison education services are not unlocking people’s potential.

As the prison population continues to rise it is more important than ever that education is at the heart of rehabilitation and that those who want to access education to help turn their lives around can do so.

PET Chief Executive Jon Collins said:

I am delighted to welcome Paul to PET as Chair. Throughout the recruitment process it has been clear that his values align with ours.

His experience in the private sector and as a trustee and chair, as well as his experience of the justice system, will be a huge asset to PET.

I am very much looking forward to working with him as Chair to ensure that PET continues to enable people in prison to access education.

Paul takes on the position from Elisabeth Davies, who stepped down in 2023 to take up a new role as National Chair of the Independent Monitoring Boards.

© Prisoners' Education Trust 2024

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