ERSA's Adviser of the Year awarded for helping to transform people's lives
Prisoners Abroad is a humanitarian charity providing welfare and emotional support to people affected by overseas imprisonment.
For many people, release and deportation after imprisonment abroad is the beginning of an immense and unique challenge. Prisoners Abroad’s Resettlement Service supports this marginalised group by providing wraparound services: housing; emergency provisions; one-to-one support; and help finding employment.
As a member of the Resettlement Team, Adrian Bailey initiated, developed and now delivers the Work Preparation Programme (WPP) which started over five years ago.
The Work Preparation Programme supports ex-prisoners returning from abroad. The overarching aim is for individuals to gain an understanding of the UK job market and to identify how their skills, qualifications and employment history can be transferable. The programme supports people through a difficult transition period to become part of society again, by providing them with the tools required to secure a livelihood.
Adrian plays a huge role in transforming people’s lives, which is why he has won the ERSA Adviser of the Year Award 2017 – a fantastic achievement which Prisoners Abroad are immensely proud of him for. His work has been recognised as a crucial part of people’s successful reintegration into society, upon their return to the UK. His leadership style and commitment to helping participants of the WPP is inspirational; he helps people overcome the trauma and lack of confidence caused by their experiences in prison abroad and deportation. Adrian is constantly seeking to remind people of the skills they possess and how to enhance employment opportunities at every stage of their resettlement.
“The process of being deported and being a prisoner is so traumatic – it can feel like you are being removed from your kin, it removes you from all of what you were from the very beginning. You find yourself thinking that perhaps you aren’t entitled to the things that everyone else is entitled to.” says Adrian. “People can easily slip into despair and depression as a result. My ambition is to prevent people reaching that point.”
People returning from abroad after imprisonment often have limited knowledge of the UK job market, are unaware of what a UK CV looks like, have low computer literacy and are no longer familiar with British culture or workplaces. Adrian designed the programme to fulfil these complex needs.
“It’s important for people to have positive influences so they have a brighter outlook on their future here, and so that they don’t feel worthless,” Adrian continues. “If I can be there to shout from one corner of the room, and guide people by giving them a sense of direction, then I’ll be there.”
The programme has come a long way since it was started; 193 people have taken part and 55 people have gained employment. It has developed from Adrian volunteering his time originally, to now operating two days a week including tailored one-to-one sessions, and even offering telephone advice and support to those residing outside London.
Not only does Adrian use his expertise for the Work Preparation Programme but also to support the wider organisation at Prisoners Abroad. He has delivered speeches at fundraising events and participated in a human rights video to promote the organisation and raise awareness of conditions faced by people imprisoned abroad. Adrian also looks for other opportunities to strengthen his support of ex-prisoners into employment – he co-facilitates monthly Resettlement Support Groups (peer-to-peer support) to understand what some of the main challenges are, which help him to tailor and refresh/update the programme.
We are always keen to talk about potential partnerships with organisations that want to get involved with employment opportunities for the people we help. If you are interested in supporting ex-offenders into work, or sharing your expertise at one of our group sessions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.