The tyre maker says that as well as providing inmates with a sense of pride, the training project could also help to plug the skills shortage in the truck tyre industry.
Up to 30 participants will gain IMI-accredited qualifications including Bridgestone’s REACT roadside technician, commercial wheel security and licensed commercial tyre technician awards.
Bridgestone has provided a custom-built trailer rig, along with other equipment, for the workshop area.
One prisoner, who cannot be named, is already planning for a career in commercial tyres after his release and says: “There are not enough jobs out there and the ones that appeal need qualifications, which cost money to do.
“This course gives me a huge chance and I couldn’t let it pass. I have a little boy waiting for me and I want to make him proud of me. If I can have a career in the commercial tyre world, then that would be incredible and it is something I now want to do.”
Prison governor Warren Sullivan says: “What Bridgestone has done here cannot be underplayed... This is a life-changer for many of the students doing the course. Not only does it give them hope, but the qualifications make them a commodity on the outside world. There is often a stigma attached to prisoners and perceptions can be negative, but Bridgestone has seen beyond this and the students will not let them down.”
Bridgestone’s training and development manager Paul Turner adds: “Coming in and seeing these guys working so hard – with such positivity – is so good to see.
“There is a skills gap in the industry and we thought that this would be a unique way to tackle it, while giving a second opportunity to people who are desperate to knuckle down and forge their own careers.”