An East Staffordshire prison threw open its doors to more than 60 employers as part of a special event to help inmates get jobs on release and prevent re-offending.

HMP Dovegate brought together representatives from national chains including Timpson, Max Spielman and JTF.

Bosses at the Marchington jail also invited employers closer to home, such as the National Memorial Arboretum, Dudley College and Burton YMCA.

Businesses visited HMP Dovegate for an event about training prisoners ready for employment
Businesses visited HMP Dovegate for an event about training prisoners ready for employment

The event included a tour of the Serco-run prison’s facilities, showcasing how staff work to train prisoners with new skills ready for release.

It also offered the firms' representatives the chance to meet prisoners taking classes in maths, English, enterprise and technology, barbering and art.

John Hewitson, Serco contract director at HMP Dovegate, said employment was vital to integrate prisoners back into society.

He said: "The evidence is clear that prisoners who move into stable employment upon leaving prison are much less likely to re-offend.

"We wanted to bring together local employers to encourage them to consider recruiting ex-offenders and give them the opportunity to see first-hand how we prepare prisoners for the transition back into the community.

HMP Dovegate Prison, a Category B prison in Marchington
HMP Dovegate Prison, a Category B prison in Marchington

"The feedback we have had from the employers who attended was very positive and we hope the connections we have made will help more of our prisoners to find jobs in the local area.

"We’ll be holding another event in February next year and we’d encourage any local employer to get in touch if they would like to come along and find out more."

As well as the companies attending, organisations including Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company and Job Centre Plus turned up to show their support.

The Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, which helped organise the event, also sent representatives to the Category B prison.

The next employer event at HMP Dovegate, in Moreton Lane, is being arranged for Sunday, February 18.

Any firms wishing to attend should email lyvonne.locker@serco.com for more information.