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 A SCHEME to help ex-offenders back into the workplace has been hailed a huge success after smashing its targets a full 10 months ahead of schedule.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) ESF Reducing Re-Offending Programme has been run by Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) in partnership with the Prison and Probation Service since January 2010.
Working with North-east ex-offenders and those still inside prison, it works hard to tackle the root causes behind reoffending by providing training and employment opportunities.
Numerous targets were set by NOMS for this Decembers deadline and all have been exceeded in spectacular style by PPDG.
In particular the jobs target of 253 by December 2011 was reached in February a full 10 months early.  The total job count today stands at a huge 355 and is growing weekly.
Other targets hit well before the December deadline are:
 - 2304 new starters joining NOMS currently 2489
- 314 clients into Further Learning currently 336
- 23 NEETS* into Employment, Education or Training currently 36
 PPDG, which operates in numerous sites around the North-east, Yorkshire and Humberside is working directly with seven North-east prisons.  These are Kirklevington, Holme House, Durham, Low Newton, Castington, Acklington and Deerbolt.  It also works with Northumbria, Durham and Teesside probation Trusts.
Site manager at PPDG, Graham Glasgow explains: We work with clients towards the end of their sentence and engage with them to begin the process of rehabilitation.   We assist offenders to gain more qualifications, update their old ones and help learn new skills.
Our work can include updating their CV, preparing them for interview and offering assistance in finding the right job or training course.
Graham explains that gaining employment can contribute to reducing reoffending and bringing a halt to the revolving door of crime.
He adds that PPDGs strong communication and support systems have contributed to the companys outstanding success with NOMS.
We are mindful of our clients offences and keep in mind where they are suited to work, but they are treated the same as any of our other clients.  PPDG staff build rapport and in doing so build their confidence.  We help them break down the barriers to work.  We also stay in touch regularly and offer ongoing support during the first six months of their employment. 
Being one step ahead of the jobs market is also very important, he adds: At PPDG we look for which jobs are going to be out there and offer training to meet that need.  Recently thats been forklift truck and heavy goods training.  But we have people working in sectors ranging from construction and off shore work to hairdressing and retail.
We are delighted with this fantastic success and NOMS has been extremely pleased with our work.
The NOMS programme will run for an initial two year period and is co-financed by the European Social Fund.
* NEETS are 18 and 19-year-olds not in education, employment or training.


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