Former prisoner turns life around to help youngsters

A former prisoner has turned his life around thanks to an initiative run by one of the West Midlands’ leading workforce training and apprenticeship organisations.

Nathaneal Henry
Nathaneal Henry

Nathanael Henry, from Highgate in Birmingham, was serving a sentence for various serious driving offences at HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton, until 2019.

Following a series of intensive training programmes, Nathanael is now on the right path and has managed to land a job with Oldbury-based BCTG as a tutor, helping to inspire youths to gain employment skills.

Des Hamilton, a mentor for BCTG’s Talent Match programme, recalled how he first met Nathanael at Oakwood Prison in August last year to chat through what he wanted to do when he was released, and what support he would need.

Des said: “Nathanael told me he wanted a career in construction and so once he was released we got him on to a six-week construction course in Hollywood, near south Birmingham, with an organisation called New Leaf Training.


“He wasted no time making the most of this opportunity, not only gaining construction qualifications but also the respect of his peers and tutors because of his positive and encouraging attitude towards everyone around him.

“His work ethic, positivity and encouragement to his peers did not go unnoticed and so, after passing the bricklaying course, the BCTG Skills Centre offered him a job as one of their tutors.”

Nathanael, aged 27 and a father-of-one, said: “I’m really grateful to everyone at BCTG, the Talent Match programme, New Life Training and the skills centre for having faith in me.

“It’s hard to believe that just last summer I was still in prison but that today I’m in a job and helping other young people achieve their potential.

“I’m really enjoying explaining to them how you can learn from your mistakes and turn your life around for the better.”

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