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General overview

Stage of development: Implementation

Policy sector: Criminal justice

Date outcomes contract signed: Jun 2020

Start date of service provision: Aug 2020

Anticipated completion date: Sep 2024

Capital raised (minimum): GBP 1m (USD 1.32m)

Max potential outcome payment: GBP 3.24m

Service users: 252 individuals


Skill Mill service centres around provision of employment; the young ex-offenders are offered 9 to 5 paid employment four days a week and encouraged to acquire a Level 2 qualification. In addition, participants are supported through mentoring given by both the supervisor on a day to day basis and more in-depth support from a dedicated guidance counsellor.

Target population

High risk ex-offenders aged 16-18



  • United Kingdom

Service delivery locations

  • Birmingham
  • Croydon
  • Durham
  • Leeds
  • Nottingham
  • Rochdale
  • Surrey
  • West Sussex

Involved organisations

Outcome metrics

  • Metric 1: Young person registers for the Skill Mill programme by signing the registration form.
  • Metric 2: Service User has completed at least four weeks on the programme with regular attendance of at least 75% as evidenced by daily attendance register.
  • Metric 3: Service User has completed the Skill Mill programme with regular attendance of at least 75%, or completes 5 months of the programme, but departs for purposes of entry into a job position.
  • Metric 4: Confirmation from AQA that Level 2 award has been achieved.
  • Metric 5: Letter from employer confirming full or part time employment for Service User; or Confirmation from HMT that Service User has registered as employed; or Evidence of enrolment into a NVQ Level 2 or above training course.
  • Metric 6: Confirmation from Police or another local agency with access to the Police National Computer that Service User has not been reconvicted during this period; or confirmation from the YOT (Youth Offending Team).


The Skill Mill started delivering services in August 2020 and will finish in September 2024. Data was last updated in December 2023. These are interim results.

Outcome achievements

Overall target is based on the high case scenario defined in the Life Chances Fund Final Award Offer or Variation Agreements.

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The service provider's comment on this graph (September 2023):

'Skill Mill’s historic success in reducing reoffending has been reflected in the SIB programme and in the data set. Of 123 young people on closed cohorts for whom verified data on no re-offending over 12 months is available, only 14 have reoffended. This figure is slightly higher than the overall data for the Skill Mill as a whole, but at an 11% reconviction rate, it is a massive success and staggering in comparison with established Youth Justice figures - of around 70% for those with numerous previous convictions (Skill Mill’s target group).

The SIB has experienced a much more difficult process regarding the Job/further training outcome, which has been missed by most sites. To date, only 43 out of the overall target of 179 (24%) have gone into Employment, Training or Full Time Education. It is disappointing that, this is the case, because the past record of Skill Mill for young people moving on to employment or training has been impressive. Given that the programme timing coincided with COVID there would seem to be clear reasons for the shortfall and that the difficulty of meeting the target was mainly associated with lockdown and generally reduced economic activity. Other providers with an employment and training focus have similarly struggled due to COVID-19 interruptions. There is good news in that Cohort 5 has improved substantially on the performance of the earlier cohorts suggesting movement in the right direction. Skill Mill front-line staff would be quick to point to achievements of the young people and distance travelled towards employability in ways that are significant for their life chances but not measured within SIB outcomes.

134 out of 240 young people (56%) have achieved the external Level 2 qualification target. This outcome is regarded as difficult to achieve with the Skill Mill’s cohort given that, as a supervisor explained, ‘as soon as you get a pen and paper out young people switch off’. The Skill Mill has tried to ensure that the learning process is integral to the Skill Mill experience and not something that is bolted onto delivery and supervisors go out of their way to ensure that as many young people as possible come away with the qualification and that this is a lead into other more vocational qualifications - such as the CSCS card for the construction industry.'

Outcome payments

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