The problem for me wasn't gaining qualifications on the inside, it was putting them in to practice on the out.
I kept my head down in prison and for once of a word, did well. I wasn't dumb or naive but I knew how difficult it was to find work on the out. My sister, who visited me every week without fail with no criminal record found it hard enough to get a job and she has some impressive qualifications so I knew I was up against it.
I was eventually released and got myself registered at the library for Internet access and started applying for anything and everything. If I didn't my benefits would be sanctioned so it made sense for me to do what I had to and needed to to do. I got a few interviews lined up, and in all fairness didn't do well in them because after years of drug use and a few years of sobriety, my confidence wasn't great and I lacked it. The next hurdle was my criminal record and although there is the offenders rehabilitation act, employers can hand pick anyway so I don't believe that it makes much of a difference. The coin flipped, I understand why some employers would be reluctant to employ people with criminal records but in the same breath we need to be given a chance to redeem ourselves otherwise what is the point of being locked up? I agree prison is needed to protect the public but it should also be a place to transform people and at present it doesn't.
I am still actively seeking work and I will keep trying. My family are supportive and my probation officer is helpful. I have grown up to realise that working with the authorities is more productive than working against them.
As for boredom in prison? It can be excruciating and does have an impact on a persons mental health especially on hours of bang up with nothing to do. Your mind races and sometimes your thoughts aren't healthy at all.
I would like to hear from like minded people who have been released and are trying to find work. Thank you for listening, kindest regards, David.