Green Start is a learning and employability programme run by Groundwork which aims to help offenders thrive in the evolving green skills and construction job market.

In order to transition to a green economy, sustainability needs to be embedded in traditional industries such as construction, utilities, agriculture and waste management.

Green Start first began in HMP Forest Bank, Salford in 2022. Prison residents developed skills, knowledge and qualifications which would help them thrive in the green skills and construction job market, and were supported through the gate to secure and sustain employment following release from custody.

The Course

Prisoners were enrolled on a 6-week training programme within HMP Forest Bank. This involved a mixture of practical workshop learning and classroom training sessions.

The course included:

  • Motivational support from our team, instilling the right attitudes towards employment and working with peers
  • Practical construction skills
  • Carbon Literacy certificatation for the Construction Sector
  • L1 & L2 Health & Safety in the Construction Environment
  • CSCS test training and practise linked to securing 5 year CSCS card
  • Introduction to property retrofit and modern construction methods
  • Hearing from different guest speakers from the construction industry to develop awareness of employer expectations, jobs and career pathway

Release for custody

Having a stable job can be a critical part of a person’s journey back into society. Employment provides independence, status, earning power, a structured routine, social contact and a sense of purpose and direction.

Course graduates received individually tailored 1-2-1 support, prior to and following release from custody, supporting them to secure and sustain employment. The Groundwork team helped learners to create a CV and a reference to send to their future employers whilst in custody.

The Groundwork team continue to remain in contact with each learner for 12 months following their release from custody, working closely with Probation staff, to maximise support and reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

Project co-design with Construction Partners

The Green Start project was designed alongside a number of construction and land sector employers including Laing O’Rourke, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty. This approach meant the training programme included the latest training needs, real-life examples and produced a number of real job opportunities (filling the recruitment gap the construction sector face).

Will’s Story

“I feel more confident in gaining employment with the help of the City & Guilds Green Start programme…”


Made possible thanks to the support of: