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Trial of specialised assistance to help ex-offenders move from welfare to work

Around 150 people in the Hume region of Victoria who have interacted with the criminal justice system will be offered tailored mentoring, clinical and educational services to help them address undiagnosed learning difficulties and find work, as part of the Australian Government’s Finding Strengths trial.

Participants in the project will be either on parole, completing community work orders, and/or have problematic drug use and will be offered assistance and tools to address the learning difficulties that may be affecting their lives.

CEO of The Centre for Continuing Education, Felicity Williams, said that recent research identified clear links between education completed by prisoners and reduction of time spent on welfare in the future.

“This project seeks to assist ex-offenders who have not participated in prison education, and/or have dropped out of school early due to undiagnosed learning difficulties with a view to increasing their chances of finding a job. There does appear to be a high incidence of undiagnosed learning difficulties, such as ADHD or dyslexia, among the prison population, and the evidence from this project will assist our understanding of how to assist the broader offender population to have better life outcomes.”

As part of the trial, each participant will take part in a tailored therapy and educational program which includes strengths-based language, literacy and numeracy education and provides participants with a better understanding of how to communicate with employers.”

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