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Justice minister opens Timpsons training academy for female prisoners


  • New academy launched by Justice Minister Sam Gyimah at HMP Downview to help female prisoners find jobs on release
  • Part of government’s commitment to making prisons place of self-discipline, hard work and reform to reduce reoffending and keep the public safe
  • Giving prisoners leaving custody the opportunity for full time employment


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A new academy to get female prisoners into employment when they’re released from custody was launched at Downview prison today by Justice Minister Sam Gyimah and James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson’s.

The Max Spielmann Learning Academy, owned by Timpson’s, will train prisoners in up to date photographic industry techniques, and a customer service qualification. Providing offenders with these valuable training opportunities will help them to get jobs when they leave prison. When they’re released every offender has the opportunity to work for the company in one of their high street shops, and gain a full time job.

Many offenders confirm a link between their offending history and ability to secure meaningful paid employment. Working together with local and national businesses and providing prisoners with the vital skills they need to find work will reduce reoffending and help offenders to lead crime-free lives.

Timpson’s is already running another academy for female prisoners in New Hall prison in Wakefield. 10% of Timpson colleagues were recruited directly from prison.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said:

I am delighted to be opening the Max Spielmann Learning Academy at Downview prison today.

Whilst offenders are in prison we must give them the right training and skills to make sure they do not return to custody. This academy will ensure they have the opportunity to get a job and turn away from a life of crime.

We are committed to helping all offenders to reform and make a new start – reducing reoffending and cutting the cost to the tax payer.

The academy helps to train offenders in all the up to date techniques currently used by the photographic industry and provides them with vital vocational experience in preparation for release. The women learn everything from picture restoration, to transferring images onto products, constructing picture frames and stretching the canvases.


Working and training in areas which are often seen to be associated with men will give female offenders new opportunities and break down barriers to their future employment.

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