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Bridging the gap between prison and the workplace

20 May 2022

In modern society, young people often find themselves in prison due to a host of reasons, some may have been in the care system, some may have endured a multitude of traumatic experiences. This combined with a lack of positive role models, means they can find themselves interacting with people who lead them down the pathway of criminality at an early age.

In a bid to bridge this obstacle, we connected one of our VIP participants with a business mentor in the business community who was willing to look past his offences and to share the lessons he has gleaned from being in business[CRT1] . Peter Gardner shared his experiences on how he turned the skills he learnt from bartending and translated that into making chocolates.

The young person shared some of his experiences from selling t-shirts and expressed his desire to get into business later in life. Peter explained that the business has its high and low points, sometimes there is money to be made but other times, it can be quite slow. Peter also explained that anything can be broken down into small pieces which makes it more achievable. He showcased some of his work and explained the pathway from the initial idea to drawings, to being crafted in the company kitchen. The young person was inspired and inquired about participating in work experience which Peter was willing to facilitate.

I would like to take part in work experience to learn what I can about this business

L.M -Participant

Everything can be broken into smaller pieces making it easier to manage and act upon

Peter Gardner- Cocoa Amore

By providing young people with opportunities to access business mentors, this helps to broaden the minds of those young people. It helps them to think more creatively about ways in which they can provide solutions to existing problems through business and other initiatives. This means they are often inspired to take steps in a more positive direction.

With the right exposure and mentorship, we hope that more young people involved in crime can begin life again and create a brighter future for themselves.

This piece of work was delivered through our VIP Project. The VIP Project incorporates Leicestershire Cares’ Power to Change model: Power within, Power with, and Power to in its delivery to ensure that nobody is left behind, and all children and young people are supported to reach their full potential.

For more information about the VIP Project click the link below:

VIP Project Development Officer:

Chikodi Oraka