Founder partners seek prison leaders

Founder partners seek prison leaders

#Catch22, Clifford Chance and PwC named as Founding Partners to Unlocked Graduates

Award-winning graduate scheme Unlocked Graduates has announced Catch22, Clifford Chance and PwC as its Founding Partners. The programme recruits high calibre graduates to work as prison officers and will work with the Founding Partners to raise the profile of the essential role prison officers play in rehabilitation.

Unlocked Graduates has been working with a range of blue chip organisations over the last year to create meaningful partnerships. As a prestigious leadership scheme, Unlocked wanted to show that the skills gained in the challenging frontline role of prison officer are the same as those sought-after by the most competitive and desirable graduate employers.

The creation of the Founding Partnership is in recognition of the major contributions that these organisations have made in the first years of Unlocked Graduates. Both through sharing pro bono and people resources as well as direct financial support.

  • Catch22 is Unlocked’s most long-standing partner and has incubated the start-up since their foundation.
  • Clifford Chance recently hosted a joint insight day for BAME candidates with Clifford Chance looking at the shared attributes they recruit for and have launched a mentoring programme where prison officers are matched with lawyers at the prestigious firm.
  • PwC is designing a Change Management programme which includes training and mentoring for all officers seeking to drive change in their prisons.

Since its launch in 2016 over 10,000 students and graduates have registered their interest in Unlocked Graduates and 55 per cent of the successful applicants have come from Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. The programme has placed 250 new officers in some of England’s most challenging prisons and is shifting public opinion of the role particularly amongst ambitious graduates wanting to promote change within the prison service.

Natasha Porter, CEO at Unlocked Graduates said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Clifford Chance, PwC and Catch22 to provide opportunities for our officers to learn from the corporate sector. It was particularly gratifying that they understood immediately how the skills our officers gain on prison landings equip them for any future leadership role and we hope to see some of our officers working as leaders at our partner organisations one day continuing to impact the lives of people with lived experience beyond the prison service”

Laura Yeates, Head of Graduate Talent at Clifford Chance said:
“As Prison Officers, Unlocked graduates build skills and mindsets that enable them to face challenges with resilience, grit, creativity and bucket loads of emotional intelligence. We recognise the very same attributes in our trainees. We also recognise that the unique experiences developed on either side – prison officers and commercial lawyers – mean we can work together to build on our shared skills and upskill each other.

“We are proud to be the first law firm to become a Founding Partner of Unlocked Graduates.”

Chris Wright, Chief Executive of Catch22, said:
“We’re proud to have incubated Unlocked from a kernel of an idea to a fully-fledged leadership scheme that’s transforming the status of prison officers. This is public service reform in action and it’s highly satisfying to see Unlocked developing independently and making a real different to the justice sector. Catch22 will continue to support its mission of attracting the brightest and best graduates into careers as prison leaders.”