07 September 2018
From manicures to track safety, web development to barbering, the winners of this year’s Enterprise Awards have ambitious plans to enter a range of industries.
Kindly supported by The Topinambour Trust, the awards offer one-off grants to help people start a business or find work after release from prison. At the PET Alumni Party on 4 September, Enterprise judges Baillie Aaron and His Honour John Samuels QC congratulated our winners and welcomed some of them onto the stage to receive a well-deserved certificate.
Here, the winners tell their stories and talk about their exciting plans for the future.
Julia from County Durham
Julia plans to start a mobile hairdressing business on release. PET gave her nearly £850 to purchase start-up equipment including scissors, rollers, curling irons and hair products.
I feel absolutely fantastic about winning an Enterprise Award.
Hairdressing is about making a difference, making someone feel better.
When I came to prison I was told the courses that were available, and I knew I wanted to do hair. I was offered the chance to progress to Level 3 as part of a pilot scheme. I couldn’t turn it down: Level 3 is everything – it means you learn about advanced colouring, cutting, corrections. You can offer your clients a better quality of service.
Hairdressing is about making a difference, making someone feel better. We get a lot of girls in prison who are away from the luxuries, the things you take for granted. When you get someone in who’s a bit down, and you can pick them up and make them feel better, that’s the best thing.
When I’m out I will spend as much time as possible with my kids. I’ve missed them so much. My youngest one is going to university next year, and my 21-year-old is hoping to join me at work one day: we’re planning to do a nail course together, so one day we can add it to the business and offer full bridal packages.
I’m aware that it will be especially hard in the first three months, but I am a hard worker. The award has made a massive difference. It will give me the tools to try to support myself financially.
Stephen from Cumbria
Stephen aims to work in the rail industry, beginning as a Personal Track Safety (PTS) operative. PET gave him an £1000 grant to go on a Personal Track Safety Training course.
I was over the moon when I heard I’d won an Enterprise Award. It feels like it’s given a bit of an opportunity. My parents are over the moon as well. They’ve always been very supportive – they wanted me to go down this route.
In 10 years’ time? Hopefully I’ll be higher up the ladder – I see this as a long-term career.
Rail track qualifications was something I was chasing when I was inside, trying to get on them, but I was never able to. In the end I wrote down everything I needed to do so I could pursue it when I got out. I made sure I did courses inside that would help me on my way. During my three years’ inside, I did a NVQ Level 3 in welding, which I knew would play a role in working in the rail industry.
I’m doing this because it’s permanent – there’s demand at the minute with the building of HS2 – and there will always be demand. It’s not just a job, it’s a career. By this time next year, I hope to be working as a PTS operative, repairing the railways, and looking at building on my qualifications. In 10 years’ time? Hopefully I’ll be higher up the ladder – I see this as a long-term career.
Alisha from Nottinghamshire
Alisha is working towards starting her own mobile creative nails service. PET awarded her £1,000 to buy the start-up equipment she needs, including manicure and pedicure kits, hand towels, and an appointment diary.
I’m so happy and excited to win the Award. This grant has changed my life. I have three children and my oldest daughter was delighted – she said, “Mum, you can do my nails now!”
I’ve been in prison for three years now. I had a baby in my first months here, and spent 18 months looking after her inside. Once it was time for her to join my family on the outside, I wanted to keep up my skills so I took up the Nail Technician course here. I’ve loved it – my teacher has really pushed me. I practice on the women here and even my teacher.
This grant has changed my life. I’m excited to get out and get started.
When I first arrived here I was very shy. But this course has pushed me so I feel much more confident now. I love doing nails – it’s relaxing and relieves my stress. I work in the salon here all day, every Wednesday – doing pedicures, manicures, and gel nails.
In a year’s time, I want to have lots of clients and work in a shop, renting a chair. After that I’d love to have my own shop. I’ve completed the Level 1 Hairdressing course inside too, with an eye on offering prom and wedding packages. I’m excited to get out and get started.
Nick from Cheshire
Now he is out of prison, Nick has taken up barbering. PET have given him just over £650 to buy start-up equipment including combs, clippers, scissors and gowns.
I’m really excited about the future and thankful for the help I’ve received from PET and The Topinambour Trust. This award is going to give me the tools I need to be a successful barber.
I’ve done some serious networking to give myself the best chance in barbering
To prepare for life after prison, I completed a NVQ Level 2 in barbering and cut throat certificate. I also worked as a peer mentor for personal development, helping other prisoners to change there lifestyles.
I’ve done some serious networking to give myself the best chance in barbering. I met Ryan Thorpe, who owns a company called #barberbarber. He told me he was looking for someone to run the barbers and treat it like their own. I’m excited to say that I’ve now signed a six-month commitment to be the manager and face of the company. This time next year I hope to have expanded the company, renting both the barber chairs out and creating jobs.
It may be early days but the knowledge I learnt from prison and the tools I get from the Enterprise Awards will help me learn the right techniques to improve. It is hard as my confidence has been knocked, but all I need to do is to remain resilient and use my grit and determination to make this successful.
Brett from Oxfordshire
After prison, Brett plans to start his own web development company. PET awarded him just over £550 to buy his start-up equipment, including a computer, desk and chair.
The Enterprise Award enables me to hit the floor running
I feel great to have won an Enterprise Award and very optimistic about starting my business now. The award makes it much easier to get started straight away without having to find funds to buy a computer or other equipment.
This grant will help me continue the steps I took in prison to prepare for work. I did a course funded by PET called Creating and Starting a Digital Business. Although I already had some skills to operate a business, the course allowed me to gain more knowledge of the sector and understanding of marketing.
I plan to set up the company as soon as I leave prison and will probably start operating part time on top of a day job. The Enterprise Award enables me to hit the floor running and start working on my company website immediately.
Ian from London
Ian’s aim is to find work in heavy goods driving. PET awarded him £350 to take a CPC driving course for driving lorries, busses or coaches.
The endorsement from Ian’s Supervising Officer showed the judges the grant would be going to the good place: “Ian is keen to get back into employment and misses the routine of working life. Gaining employment will allow him to effectively reintegrate back in to the community and work towards his personal goals. It will provide him with a sense of achievement and purpose in life.”
Marlon from Manchester
Marlon is focussed on working in the rail sector. PET have given him £165 to pay for his DCCR railway training course.
Like all our winners, Marlon was firmly backed by prison staff. His Personal Officer told us: “Marlon is particularly focused on working in the rail sector upon release. This grant will give him the opportunity to complete the training needed in order to be able to work on the rail.”
Thank you to Derina Douglas (Linknmums), Duane Jackson (KashFlow Accounting Software), Baillie Aaron (Spark Inside) and His Honour John Samuels QC for making up our judging panel for the Enterprise Awards.
© Prisoners' Education Trust 2020