Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist HMP High Down Construction Mentorship Partnering Programme

18 April 2023

People Development sponsored by VolkerWessels UK

HMP High Down – Construction Mentorship Partnering Programme

People Development Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalist

Galliford Try has designed and built the new DHL workshop at the High Down Cat C men’s prison in Surrey. The new workshop will provide quality work and training for 90 men at a time, in the most technologically advanced warehouse within the DHL prison canteen project, eventually using a state-of-the-art IT system.

The workshop was constructed within the live operational prison. A big success on the project has been the people development. Throughout the project Galliford Try has worked with the prison to deliver a Construction Mentorship Partnering Scheme (CMPS), a flagship pilot scheme that has been a first for the prison and Galliford Try. Through the CMPS, Galliford Try has engaged with prisoners, providing work experience and training on the live construction site. This aligns with High Down’s rehabilitation commitments to providing inmates with safe and purposeful activity, supporting education and training, and providing meaningful work experience that opens up greater opportunities for prisoners on release.

Through the CMPS, Galliford Try employed eight prisoners as orderlies to work on the construction site, providing them with work experience and training in aspects such as construction management, M&E installation and brick laying. Galliford Try also provided skills training, CV workshops and mock interviews. The scheme has provided these prisoners with meaningful skills and opened doors for work opportunities upon release to affect real change in their lives, helping them successfully re-integrate back into society. To date all those that participated in the CMPS have seen true benefit from the scheme, with one going on to be employed on release, another two with firm job offers and another with an offer of a sponsored apprenticeship, with the intention to eventually become a site manager within Galliford Try.

A key aspect of successful rehabilitation is breaking down the barriers ex-offenders face upon release. The CMPS provides meaningful training and development, offering lasting value – for the prison, the prisoners and can be shared wider with the construction sector, providing greater opportunities for rehabilitation across the judicial sector. HMP High Down is continuing the programme across its future construction works. The High Down scheme alone presents a £385k saving to taxpayers in terms of successful rehabilitation against the cost of accommodating re-offenders.

As a business Galliford Try is continuing to deliver CMPS, applying the learning from the High Down CMPS to future custodial and judicial schemes. The company's core people who led the High Down CMPS (project manager and corporate responsibility manager) have committed to sharing the learning from the pilot scheme across its business, ensuring effective knowledge transfer to the wider business and with its other custodial and judicial clients. For example, Galliford Try is currently establishing a similar CMPS for the Rye Hill prison expansion in Warwickshire. HMP High Down is also taking learning from this pilot scheme and will be continuing the CMPS with future works planned at the prison, targeting more placements on future schemes. Galliford Try is also sharing learning from the scheme through sharing best practice through Special Interest Groups within the MoJ Constructor Services Framework.


Key achievements:

  • Rollout of the first prisoner rehabilitation scheme, providing work experience and training on a live construction site.

  • Implementing a cultural shift, for the Establishment, construction personnel and inmate operatives, that has allowed the scheme to flourish.

  • The CMPS at High Down has provided meaningful training and development, offering lasting value – for the prison, the prisoners and can be shared wider with the construction sector, providing greater opportunities for rehabilitation across the judicial sector. The High Down scheme alone presents a £385k saving to taxpayers in terms of successful rehabilitation against the cost of accommodating re-offenders.


Learn more about Project Partners:

Galliford Try (Twitter, LinkedIn)

Ministry of Justice (Twitter, LinkedIn)

HMP High Down


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 Ceremony on Thurs 29th June 2023.


About the People Development (incl. EDI) Award (sponsored by VolkerWessels UK): 

People are our greatest asset and this award recognises organisations that appreciate and nurture their workforce to ensure they maximise the value of everyone’s contribution to the business. By creating inclusive workplaces which support people of all abilities through training initiatives, education, mentoring, support networks and innovative programmes, companies can demonstrate a significant impact on the future of their businesses and the wider construction industry. More info

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalists here

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