Former Midlands prisoner becomes youth skills tutor, thanks to BCTG initiative

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

Nathanael Henry, from Highgate in Birmingham, was serving a sentence for various serious driving offences at HM Prison Oakwood in Featherstone, Staffordshire until the late summer of 2019.

Today, after a series of intensive training programmes, Nathanael’s positive attitude has resulted in him landing a job at 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 2019 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.

“He moved into his own accommodation, which was very important to him, and after completing the course he went on a bricklaying course at the BCTG Skills Centre in West Bromwich.

“Once again, Nathanael excelled at achieving the qualification and put things in place to set up his own gardening business, working on clients’ gardens during weekends.

“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.

“The centre’s management had noticed his potential and the good influence he had on people around him, and they thought he would be a great inspiration for younger bricklaying students aged 16 to 18.

“The centre is now giving Nathanael the training he needs to be a qualified tutor and assessor, and he’s really enjoying this role.”

Des added: “The younger students really look up to him as he has shared his story with them and encourages them to stay on the right path.”

Nathanael, aged 27 and a dad-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.”

BCTG’s Talent Match Black Country initiative is a voluntary engagement programme which aims to increase the optimism, motivation and confidence of people who have been out of work for a year or more.

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For further information, please contact: 

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Or email

Note to editors:

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and includes PTP Training, trading as Performance Through People, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions, Further Training and The Apprenticeship Works.

The group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.