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Duo UK develops NVQ with The Manchester College

Duo UK has developed a specialist NVQ with The Manchester College, after the College approached DuoUK looking for advice on course content.

The partnership came about after the College, which is the education provider for HM Prison Manchester, was tasked with developing an NVQ for those prisoners who work in the prison's in-house print operation. In addition to aiding prisoners with their rehabilitation, the qualification will be available to those seeking a career in manufacturing as well as formally recognising the skills of those already working in the sector. 

HMP Manchester operates an in-house commercial printing operation which produces a range of lithographic and digital print products for clients such as the National Offender Management Service(NOMS), government organisations and commercial customers. A spokesperson explained: "HMP Manchester is a working prison. That means we aim to give inmates an experience of 'real' workplaces, with the aim of increasing their chances of rehabilitation and employment once they're released. The printing operation is an important part of that programme.  

"Since we set up our print operation in 2010, we've had considerable success but we identified quality control and manufacturing processes as areas we needed to boost inmates' expertise in. We also thought there was an opportunity here to ensure inmates had the  chance to add a formal qualification to their CV, reflecting  the skills they had learnt from working in the print operation and boosting their employability. Consequently we got in touch with The Manchester College to explain what we needed and they were able to approach DuoUK."

The Manchester College's North West employment broker, Gary Spann, takes up the story: "We recognised that Duo UK would be a great partner for this project - they are  a significant player in their industry turning over £25m a year and supplying high profile local companies such as JD Williams, JD Sports and Keep Britain Tidy. They are also known for being highly innovative in their field and investing heavily in the training and development of their team, so we were optimistic we would be pushing at an open door.

"In the event the team at Duo were fantastic. They were more than willing to discuss best practice with HMP Manchester and reveal what skills they looked for in their employees. This provided vital insight which we used to shape the content of the NVQ, while working closely with Duo to agree a final version. 

"The aim was to ensure the qualification was completely relevant to the real world giving inmates the best possible chance of gaining employment when they were released. As well as providing practical advice Duo UK showed a genuine interest in, and a real desire to support, both HMP Manchester and The Manchester College, which really helped the process run smoothly and speedily."

The result of the project is a City and Guilds NVQ Diploma in Performing Manufacturing Operations, which is now being used by The Manchester College, HMP Manchester and Duo UK. Duo UK's brand director, Zoe Brimelow, commented: "There's a real lack of formal qualifications that recognise the skills needed to work within a modern manufacturing organisation.  This is problematic for us as a business as it makes it harder for us to recognise the skills our team has developed or to accurately identify skill levels among potential new recruits. For the manufacturing industry as a whole it is also far from ideal and does nothing to highlight the fantastic careers which are available in the sector.

"These reasons alone were a powerful incentive to get involved in the scheme with HMP Manchester, but we also genuinely believe that local companies should give back to the community where they can. This partnership allowed us to do this, both by supporting another local business and by potentially helping inmates successfully rehabilitate by starting a career in manufacturing, a sector where there is a significant skill shortage.  


Man College

Published: 22/09/2014

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