13th April 2016



We are proud to support delivery of education services within HM Prisons, working closely with the Gymnasium staff and Drug Strategy groups. Our core focus for current delivery has been through Health, Wellbeing and Fitness based qualifications.

Engaging learners quickly when they arrive into a Category B establishment has proven to be successful with basic education into Lifestyle Management and Personal Wellbeing, encouraging self reflection, personal development and progression into the industry if interested. We support each Prisons’ existing Departments to become a place of opportunity, which is embraced by learners and staff.

We support quality driven provision and our structured progression routes ensure that learners are at the appropriate educational level to access the qualifications they have applied for. If further learner support is needed, we encourage a referral back to the OLASS education provider, where the learner can improve their literacy and numeracy skills before re-applying to attend a higher level course.

Some of our qualifications are population friendly, meaning that previous learner offences do not affect their entry onto a programme. This enables prisons to offer an accredited course to all potential learners and can confidently address issues such as body image, bullying, drugs & alcohol, smoking and making healthy life changes around food and/or activity. Whilst our courses require a structured delivery model, they can be taught with a flexible timetable which meets both the operational requirements and population needs of the prison establishment.

For those learners wishing to pursue a career in the fitness industry, we are able to support a staged entry process through progression at Level 1 and Level 2 courses. A number of the establishments we work with encourage their Level 2 learners to support Level 1, thus offering both peer learning and mentoring opportunities. Level 2 learners also look to work with the general population as Gym Instructors to gain valuable work experience and achieve an NVQ where possible. All Astara learners are able to contact us upon leaving prison so that we can support them with a range of employment opportunity routes.

Due to funding constraints we are not able to offer Level 3 programmes to all, HOWEVER, as part of our Social Enterprise commitment, we deliver a successful national Level 3 Personal Trainer Scholarship programme. Prospective candidates apply for this programme and have to go through a rigorous interview process where they have to write a business plan, complete their CV, attend further education courses and the candidates are then interviewed by Victoria Smith and our Lead Internal Quality Assurance Kevin Wyld. Successful candidates are then able to enrol onto the programme. Throughout the programme, we meet with offender and probation managers to ensure that all support networks are in place, offering the best chance to reduce recidivism and help the learner stay out of prison.

Astara is recognised nationally at Tier 2 & Tier 3 under the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation strategy. We continue to strive to form effective links with internal and external partners and employers to provide a complete ‘Through The Gate’ support package for learners.

Astara is on the Register of Training Organisations and welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with other Prime contractors in order to better enhance our current provision.

Find our list of current HMP qualifications by clicking here…