#Chances4Children: Face mask initiative boosts employment opportunities for young offenders


A social enterprise working to help young offenders get back into work and training is selling face masks to fund vital opportunities for vulnerable young people.

The Skill Mill has launched a selection of masks to fund employment opportunities for young people. Picture: The Skill Mill
The Skill Mill has launched a selection of masks to fund employment opportunities for young people. Picture: The Skill Mill

The Skill Mill offers six-month paid employment schemes to ex-offenders aged 16 to 18 years old in a bid to reduce reoffending and boost employment opportunities.

Young people are offered accredited training courses and work in land and water-based management before being supported into follow-on roles with partner organisations.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, young people were forced to stop working due to lockdown restrictions.

However, David Parks, managing director of the Skill Mill, says they “jumped at the chance” to return to work once restrictions were eased.

“As all of the work we provide is site-based, we did have to put the young people on furlough leave.

“It was a worry that some might not come back but they have all jumped at the chance and been thrilled to return to work,” he said.

Parks added: “Getting into work is always a challenge for young offenders and marginalised young people compared with other young people but the pandemic has had a massive effect on youth employment as a whole.

“We have been checking in with the young people online and were pleased to get them back to work as soon as possible but we have had to come up with new initiatives to boost funding.”

In order to plug funding gaps caused by the pandemic, the Skill Mill is now selling sustainable face masks in order to support more marginalised young people back into work.

The initiative has seen the Skill Mill partner with other local organisations to create the masks.

Find out more about CYP Now’s #Chances4Children campaign.

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