Client spotlight: The Skill Mill extends its successful programme for youth offenders

Client spotlight: The Skill Mill extends its successful programme for youth offenders

Hempsons Partner, Crispin Pettifer, has advised The Skill Mill on an exciting project to extend the programme they deliver to more vulnerable young people. The Skill Mill is a multi-award-winning social enterprise that helps young people break the cycle of re-offending and gain work experience.

Innovative New Programme

  • The Skill Mill is an intensive 6-month work programme designed to help vulnerable young people break the cycle of re-offending and gain work experience.
  • Over 224 young people will be employed, each for six months, gaining a nationally recognised qualification, practical work skills, a wage and an opportunity to progress into further employment and/or training.
  • The programme is jointly commissioned by seven Local Authorities – Birmingham, Croydon, Durham, Leeds, Nottingham, Rochdale and Surrey – with support from the Life Chances Fund (awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport.)
  • It is structured as a four-year outcomes contract, funded by a social impact bond – so the provider is paid for successfully keeping young people out of the criminal justice system and achieving other milestones such as gaining an accredited qualification and further employment.

High risk young people in seven Local Authorities can now access a programme that combines paid jobs, training and mentoring that will help them stay out of the criminal justice system and deliver better outcomes for them, their families and the wider community, thanks to a unique collaboration between The Skill Mill (the Social Enterprise delivering the programme), local and central government, social investors and local employers.

The Skill Mill will work with over 224 young people involved in serious criminal and anti-social behaviour, who are at high risk of committing further offences. These young people will be offered a 6-month job with support designed to help address their underlying issues and improve their life chances. This programme is intensive, based on rigorous evidence gained over the past six years and designed to integrate young people back into the labour market and society.

Jobs are primarily in the environmental maintenance and construction sectors and are shown to improve emotional and physical wellbeing through being outdoors and with significant contact with nature.

Funding for the programme is initially being provided by four social investors jointly led by Northstar Ventures and Big Issue Invest, plus CAF Venturesome and the Resonance West Midlands SITR Fund. Social Finance has sponsored the programme and will provide performance management services to the project.

The initiative will be operated by The Skill Mill, an award-winning Social Enterprise working in partnership with some of the country’s most progressive and socially responsible employers, who collectively bring decades of experience of implementing evidence-based programmes across the UK and further afield.

Structured as a social outcomes contract, The Skill Mill Partnership will be paid only if it succeeds in keeping the young person’s progress on the programme and achieving the outcomes linked to employability and no further court convictions.

The Skill Mill Partnership will benefit from management support from Social Finance UK and the Social Investment group, with the latter providing over £1m of risk capital. The Youth Justice Board (England and Wales) is also supporting the programme in a strategic advisory capacity.

Click here to learn more about The Skill Mill.

Crispin Pettifer, partner at Hempsons, said:

Innovative, exciting and fulfilling – that’s how I see it. The Social Impact Bond approach is compelling. It achieves life-changing outcomes because the collaborative ways of working and the sound contractual structure attract investment. The Skill Mill is an impressive social enterprise, and working with David and his team is a privilege.”

David Parks, Managing Director of The Skill Mill, said:

“It has taken a lot of hard work behind the scenes to bring all of the partners to this point. Hempsons commitment and insight has helped keep the programme going in the right direction despite all the setbacks and difficulties thrown at us in 2020. We chose Hempsons because of their strong reputation and their specialist knowledge and they embraced our ethos early in our development. They have more than lived up to our expectation and we are enormously grateful to Crispin and his colleagues for steering us through the complexity and through some very challenging times.”

About us

Hempsons have an established social enterprise practice and we are committed to continuing to develop our services to meet the changing needs of the sector. We have a dedicated national team across the firm’s four offices in London, Manchester, Harrogate and Newcastle.

Click here to learn more about our expertise.