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Quest is designed to break the reoffending cycle by equipping young offenders with the skills, support, resources, network and ethics to compete more effectively for employment. 


Quest also actively encourages participants to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and encourages young offenders to see starting a business as a realistic and viable career option

Supported by

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Project Overview

Key aspects to Quest programme

  • 30 Level 1 OCN qualifications in Employability

  • Self development and progressing action planning

  • 8 weeks work experience in our Mugshots social enterprise

  • 1 restorative justice project a year

  • Personal development bursary available post release

  • Community links, onward referral and employer network

Quest Stats 2018-22

Young Offenders (YO) represent some of the most marginalised people in our society.

  • More than 43% of young people in custody have emotional and mental health needs

  • 60% of those who offend have communication difficulties

  • Almost 33% of young people who offend are not in full time education, training or

  • employment at the end of their period of youth justice supervision.

  • More than 25% of young people in the youth justice system have a learning disability, while more than 75% have serious difficulties with literacy.

  • More than 50% of young people who offend have themselves been victims of crime.

  • 42% of children on custodial sentences had been ‘held in care’, while 17% were on the child protection register

In terms of offending history, 63.8% of offenders had committed previous offences prior to coming into custody. Within Northern Ireland (2019), 56 crimes were committed per 1000 people which equates to over 100,000 victims of crime in NI each year.


Tackling these issue in a non-traditional way not only has a powerful social impact for society but improves the cost effectiveness of rehibilition with in the criminal justice system.

Quest, delivered in Hydebank Wood Secure College, is designed to break the reoffending cycle by equipping young offenders with the skills, support, resources, network and ethics to compete more effectively for employment. We have a proven track record of reducing both short and term and long term re-offending in our participant cohorts through our bespoke programme.

Quest training and work experience helps YO work on both hard and soft skills that they can carry into the rest of their lives as well as their careers. We work with our participants on a 1 to 1 basis to develop interview skills, discolure of convictions, relationship building, team work skills, time keeping and work place management, team work skills​, addressing drug and alcohol misuse, mental health awareness, self-motivation and self-confidence.

All our participants that complete our programme in its entirety receive employability support post release, similar to the support they receive in Hydebank Wood as well as access to a professional development bursary to help support their employability journey.

“Quest provides young people with a unique opportunity to build up a range of transferable skills which will be valued by potential employers. Participating in the initiative will build confidence and give a sense of pride and achievement to these young people and allow them to face the world upon release with renewed hope and self-belief."

     - David Ford, Former Northern Ireland Minister of Justice

Case Studies