AWARD WINNER 2013-14: Alan was nominated by prisoners at HMP Spring Hill for his work as an IT tutor there. Through his drive and dedication, the establishment has become one of fewer than 20 sites nationally, and the only prison in the UK, accredited as an academy by Cisco Systems. He is an inspirational teacher and mentor, who goes well beyond his paid role to support his students and, where possible, help them find employment in the industry. (Alan is also granted the Keith Bromley Award for Education & Skills Training.)
[The following article appeared in issue 6 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]
Alan Bailey has won a Butler Trust Award for his work as a tutor, helping prisoners to gain IT skills at the Springhill Prison Information and Communications Technology Academy (PICTA). His award was sponsored by The Bromley Trust.
Alan’s achievements have gone far beyond helping prisoners to attain IT skills and into helping their rehabilitation, both within the prison and post release. Through sheer hard work and dedication he built up his own IT knowledge and skills, including gaining prestigious CISCO qualifications, then offered support for instructors through a student mentoring scheme and workshops. One of his students from Springhill won an internship with Cisco against competition from graduates and others, going on to work for a bluechip company.
The support for his students does not end when they leave Springhill, thanks to Alan’s efforts in setting up email facilities, Skype, and file sharing for course materials, and arranging for students to have access to BirminghamUniversity’s remote lab stations to complete their practical work. He has designed and implemented new IT networks and systems that have offered offenders a connection to all kinds of areas of employment.
Beyond this, he has a desire to inspire and help people to enjoy life. He created a live music room and recording studio – with a classroom area for those wishing to take music technology courses – and set up a Springhill music band that won gold at the Koestler awards.
Finding innovative ways to engage prisoners has become second nature. ‘Personally, I enjoy the students,’ he says. ‘I care about them – the guys have done something wrong, but they can now put time and effort into something.’
Speaking on behalf of the PICTA trainees, Graham Simpson said: ‘Alan strives on, relentlessly placing other people’s needs before his own. He is surely unique; Springhill and the prison community feel greatly blessed to have him as part of their team.’
For more information: contact HMP Springhill