Prison leavers can face a host of setbacks when they try to look for work and it can be a long and difficult time.
With the help of the Peer Advisor Programme, Marcel was able to gain new skills, find employment and help others take the same steps.
Marcel first began his role as a resettlement peer advisor within HMP Cardiff, working to assist the Department of Work and Pensions. Marcel was initially able to bridge the gap between the prisoners and the prison staff, helping prisoners improve their chances of finding employment and also offering them advice and guidance.
Typically, Marcel would to find out more about their circumstances and then contact their local Jobcentre Plus branch to make a claim for benefits or request an emergency loan to help with their first month or so after being released from prison. Marcel also provided guidance on specific inquiries on subjects including repayments, housing and logistics, helping others to make sure that leaving the prison would be a smooth process.
Marcel then seized the opportunity to study his NVQ Level 3 in Advice & Guidance alongside the work he was already doing. When completed, Marcel joined the St Giles team in HMP Cardiff, taking up role as a resettlement peer advisor. Through working his role and completing his NVQ, Marcel was able to learn a great deal.
He told us,
“Communication, confidence, problem solving, analytical thinking, multi-tasking, accuracy, attention to detail, and empathy are all included in the list of core skills and attributes I feel I’ve improved and honed during this time and will be invaluable in the future.”
As of April 2019, Marcel was transferred to HMP Prescoed. As part of a Release on Temporary License, Marcel has been given the opportunity to work in the community in an HR role. Marcel tells us that through determined efforts and with the support of St Giles, he has every confidence that this opportunity will provide him with options when he’s released and allow him to continue to build his skills. Marcel says,
“They have categorically stated they recognise the value in my completion of my NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Advice & Guidance, and the work I have done with St Giles Trust.”
“I am genuinely excited about my prospects for the future and am thankful for the assistance and the encouragement that was provided to me by St Giles Trust.”