The Linkage Programme was initially set up as a pilot scheme and was funded by the Probation Service under the National Development Plan. The aim was to prepare, plan, and implement Training and/or Employment placement for offenders referred to the programme by the Probation Service.
In September 2000 The Linkage Programme became a joint project between Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) and the Probation Service with support from IBEC, the Small Firms Association and ICTU.
Key to the ethos of the programme is the client. Research had clearly established that the vast majority of offenders come from the most marginalised, excluded and under resourced communities in society. The Linkage Programme's clients are likely to have been subjected to unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, loneliness, homelessness, family breakdown or stigmatisation because of public attitudes to offenders. Therefore providing an innovative training and employment programme is vital for helping ex-offenders find a new direction.
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