Through the Gate: employment support for ex-offenders across the Thames Valley

Here at Aspire we’re not fussed about your past – we just want to work with you in the present to help you build yourself a better future. We've been working with people who are in custody or have recently left prison for years, and we can give you the specialist support needed to find employment, training, work experience or education. Most importantly of all, we'll give you a very warm welcome.

Aspire's Through the Gate employment support is available in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Reading and Slough, and we currently work with HMP Bullingdon, HMP Spring Hill, HMP Bronzefield, HMP Send and HMP Downview.

Here's what we can offer:

If you've been released from custody, we will:

  • Give you access to real work experience on our enterprise businesses (Oxfordshire)
  • Help you find work placements with local employers
  • Give you tailored, one-to-one and person-centred support to improve your employability: including training courses, CV writing and confidence building
  • Help you get qualifications, access training and cover your expenses, and support with obtaining ID
  • Help you find paid employment opportunities
  • Support you with any other resettlement challenges you may have around housing, debt or family issues

While you're still in custody, we will:

  • Meet you inside before your release to help you plan for the future - this can include work experience on Aspire enterprise teams while on Release on Temporary Licence if in HMP Spring Hill.
  • Help you set in place a constructive, positive routine to put into practice on your release.
  • Work with you to address other challenges you may be facing upon your release.

Suhail started his placement with Aspire’s enterprise team in December 2019 whilst in custody. With no housing support in place for SU when he was due to leave HMP Spring Hill, Aspire worked to acquire and cover the cost of temporary accommodation for SU while more secure housing plans and financial support could be arranged, preventing him from facing homelessness on his release from prison. SU is now living in supported housing in Oxford and has worked with Aspire to find part-time work with a local company.

"Whilst in custody, Aspire helped me to gain work experience with their landscaping and gardening team and I really enjoyed this work. Aspire have gone out of their way to help me, securing longer-term accommodation in Oxford and finding furniture for my room, following my custody release. They have helped me to find a part-time job, so I am now settled and appreciate everything done for me."

Get in touch

For Oxfordshire Through the Gate referrals, please call: 01865 204450 

For Milton Keynes Through the Gate employment support, please call: 07717 893585

For High Wycombe Through the Gate employment support, please call: 07395 793649

For Reading or Slough Through the Gate employment support, please call: 07395 791494

Alternatively, you can complete our referral form and return it to [email protected] to start your journey with our team.

No queues, no appointments, no hoops to jump through - we just want to help you build yourself a better future.

Photo credit: Howard Stanbury for The Funding Network