The initiative is being trialled in HMP Garth and HMP Pentonville prisons. More than 100 prisoners are repairing and testing electrical equipment, from transformers to rotary hammer drills. They are trained by a Speedy Hire manager who is based in the prison workshop and also by the prison’s technical staff.

Speedy Hire’s suppliers have attended the prisons to hold training courses on the products that the prisoners are not familiar with. 

Speedy Hire have a quality control procedure so each item that is repaired is not only tested and checked by the person who repaired it, but also by a team of quality control assessors who carry out an additional check.

Speedy Hire’s Steve Palmer, UK workshops director, and Steve Russell, general workshops manager are responsible for implementing the scheme. Steve Palmer said: “We’ve worked closely with HM Prison Service to develop fully equipped workshops for prisoners, which share much in common with the maintenance facilities at our 20 tool hire workshops.

Speedy will open two more prison workshops in 2008.

Peter Delves, business account manager from HM Prison Service, added: “We’ve already placed some of our ex-prisoners in positions at Speedy Hire workshops and we are keen to extend the training to other institutions.”