See below for answers to questions we get asked the most. If you need any more information get in touch.
What inspired The Prison Opticians Trust?
In 2003, Tanjit Dosanjh’s father was sentenced to prison. A year later, Tanjit began studying optometry whilst continuing to visit his father in prison. It was during these visits, learning about the types of training courses available to prisoners, that the idea behind The Prison Opticians Trust arose. It wasn’t until 2012, however, that the idea for the Trust was truly put into action. Read the Trust’s full story.
How do you select and recruit the prisoners you work with ?
Do you work with prisoners who have been convicted of any offence?
The Prison Opticians Trust only works with prisoners reaching the end of their sentence and who are serving the remainder of their time in open conditions. As such, those convicted of offences including, and similar to murder, sexual violence and other serious violent or sexual offences are not eligible for the training program.
How do you ensure that prisoners get the most out of The Prison Opticians Trust's program?
The Trust promotes a hands-on learning environment in which, after initially observing lab processes, trainees are encouraged to get involved in the production of prescription glasses for our customers. This hands-on approach to learning is further driven by our unique theoretical syllabus, which becomes easily applicable to the work carried out in the lab. We also employ a Training Manager with years of optical experience to support the learning of our trainees.
How do you determine which trainees will make the best assets to employers?
During the 10 week observation and training period, The Prison Opticians Trust gets to know each trainee personally and observes them closely in order to decide who is suitable for a job in the optical industry and could be recommended for employment at a local optician’s practice. Only those trainees whom the Trust is confident will make valuable assets to employers are recommended. Trainees then complete a month-long work experience placement at the local practice, during which employers can make more informed decisions as to the suitability of individual trainees to their company and further professional development.
How do employers in the optics industry benefit from recruiting the Trust's trainees?
Employers will benefit from taking on new, qualified employees who are well trained, knowledgeable, committed and enthusiastic about working in optics. To begin with, trainees do voluntary work for employers, giving them a chance to see how that person fits into their team before making the decision to hire. The subsequent progression to paid work allows prisoners to save towards their release from prison.
How does the wider community benefit from the Trust's work?
Helping prisoners to secure paid work upon release from prison reduces their chances of re-offending and, by implication, contributes towards the safety of the wider community. In addition, our trainees pay a percentage of their salary into the Victims Support Fund. Furthermore, helping prisoners to secure paid work upon release from prison saves members of the community paying for ex-offenders’ unemployment benefits.
How many trainees has The Prison Opticians Trust helped since its inception?
In the three years since the establishment of the Trust, we have trained over 60 offenders in skills required by the optical customer service industry. In addition, we have helped over 40 of our trainees to secure paid employment.
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