The Linkage Service provides services to clients referred by the Probation Service only. Our Training and Employment Officers (TEO’s) provide guidance counselling, assessment and placement services (training, education and employment) to probationers, and stability services to clients participating in the Community Return Scheme. The Linkage Service also provides Probation Service clients with Community Service support in terms of sourcing appropriate sites and group work. It aims to bring about effective change based on local requirements, and a network of opportunities among employers and educational and training providers through on-going local and national networking activity. Responses are tailored to meet the needs of each individual referral.
Linkage offers its services to include all offence categories.
It has developed its guidance counselling service in line with current desistance theory and practice, taking a client-centred; strengths based approach to complement the work of the referring Probation Officers. Linkage provides an in-depth focus on the attainment of qualifications relevant to local labour market trends, based on clients’ strengths, interests, abilities and opportunities, and in line with labour market forecasts by geographical breakdown. Linkage has also developed a number of groupwork programmes, such as the very popular Changing Course, to bring about effective change to members of its client group that otherwise would continue indefinitely to be excluded from advancement toward the labour market. We will soon be launching a new IASIO client groupwork programme – Journey to Work—with a view to further assisting probationers in their desistance efforts.
Types of referrals to IASIO’s Linkage Service include referrals for Guidance & Placement, Guidance Only, Community Service Support, Community Return Resettlement Support and IASIO Groupwork.
The main objectives of Linkage are:
- To provide a range of services including guidance counselling to persons properly referred by the Probation Service
- To assist those persons referred to avail of the resettlement, reintegrative, educational, training and employment opportunities required to contribute to society and their own future in a positive manner
- To encourage desistance efforts and inspire hope.
How the Linkage Service realises these objectives is illustrated here through part of the role description of the Training and Employment Officer, which is as follows:
- Meet with clients individually to assess their needs, interests and abilities.
- Develop a life plan and career pathways, which identify personal barriers and strengths
- Support client before, during and after placement
- Offer resettlement support to clients referred through the Community Return Scheme
- Develop a network of employers in each area
- Create the climate for engaging employers and also provide advice and support to employers and training providers before, during and after placement
- Develop a network of other agencies / CBOs working with ex-offenders
- Where required and subject to capacity, bring other agencies together to develop and deliver training to suit specific labour market trends in different geographic areas as identified by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs
- Provide relevant groupwork services to probationers as required
- Provide resettlement support to CR clients and to Community Service staff in terms of sourcing appropriate sites based on local demand, community service, one-to-one guidance counselling, and community service group work.
- Act as conduit for referrals to Intreo/ETB Services
For more information on how to refer your client to the Linkage Service, please click here