6 September 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Amey and Recycling Lives in WEEE work at prison

Amey has announced a new partnership giving offenders the opportunity to develop “vital work skills” as they recycle television sets from the company’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

The partnership – between Amey, Recycling Lives and a prison for men, HMP Dovegate – has seen a dedicated recycling academy for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) set up within the prison. Up to 40 offenders will strip out glass, plastics, circuit boards and wiring from the televisions.

The workshop is the 10th HMP Academy set up by Preston-based firm Recycling Lives, and is dedicated to taking television sets from Amey’s 39 HWRCs in Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Recycling Lives reports to be a “unique recycling business,” using its commercial operations to sustain its own charitable programmes. Its HMP Academies programme, operational in 10 UK prisons, is supporting men and women through training and work both pre- and post-release, the company says.

More than 133,000 televisions are expected to be recycled every year (around 1,700 tonnes) as part of the scheme to upskill and rehabilitate offenders.

Recycling Lives

One of the individuals benefiting from the skills training programme involving Amey and Recycling Lives (picture: Recycling Lives)

Once the component parts have been extracted at HMP Dovegate, they will go to Recycling Lives’ 15-acre Recycling Park in Preston for final sorting, before going to the global commodities market for processing into new products.

Supporting

Paul Kirkup, head of resource at Amey, said: “As a company which works both in the waste industry and for the Ministry of Justice (where we provide facilities management in prisons), this scheme really does allow Amey to provide a joined-up approach to supporting offenders, so when they leave they are going into work opportunities with confidence for themselves and their families – reducing the likelihood of re-offending.”

Over 200 men and women are employed within HMP Academies at any one time. Between 2015-17, of the 75 men and women released after working in Academies, just two reoffended while the remainder were rehabilitated and supported into work, the company says.

Welcoming the initiative, Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “I am grateful to HMP Dovegate, Amey and Recycling Lives for their work in creating this HMP Academy. Initiatives like this create a platform for offenders to go on and make a meaningful contribution to society – turning their backs on crime for good. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who helps prisoners find work and we want to encourage more employers to take on offenders and help them transform their lives.”

Social value

Alasdair Jackson, operations director for Recycling Lives, added: “Our partnership with Amey contributes to our creation of social value, saving the taxpayer millions each year as we rehabilitate offenders.

“We’re now looking forward to an even stronger partnership with Amey as we launch the HMP Dovegate Academy, where we’ll recycle at the same time as supporting offenders’ rehabilitation.”

Offenders will have to apply for a role in the HMP Dovegate Academy. Participants earn an enhanced wage – Recycling Lives reports to be the highest paying organisation in the prison estate – and have opportunity to gain transferable and sector-specific qualifications, such as a fork lift truck licence, the company says.

John Hewitson, Serco’s contract director at HMP Dovegate said: “We know that prisoners who have a job are less likely to reoffend and end up back in prison.  This Academy is an innovative way to teach prisoners skills that will help them to find employment when they re-join society at the end of their sentence.”

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