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Late last year, Knauf collaborated with leading prison education organisation Novus, whose mission is to improve the employability of those leaving prison. Knauf donated around 40 bags of its Airless Finish product to Novus and trained tutors at HMP Thorn Cross in its application. 

Novus has been operating in the Northwest for nearly 30 years, helping men, women and young offenders in prison learn new skills. Its ultimate goal is to reduce re-offending through education. 

Emma Lane, Employer Account Manager at Novus, wanted to find out what she needed to be training Novus learners to make them more employable. After a meeting with Willmott-Dixon and Bluegyp, they identified spray plastering as a skill in high demand on construction sites across the UK.  

Novus was put in contact with Knauf who advised on industry standard machines that it needed to be able to provide the training. This led Novus to purchase five Greco MK V Pro contractor machines. Knauf then provided Novus with a supply of its Airless Finish product to use on training courses.  

Knauf offers its Airless Finish as an alternative to traditional plastering methods. It can be likened to spray plaster as the product is delivered using an airless high-pressure piston pump machine. As one of the most up to date solutions in wall plastering, training in the application of Knauf Airless Finish serves to address a skills gap in construction.   

Knauf trainers Adam Tempest and Paul Betts visited HMP Thorn Cross, demonstrating to the Novus tutors how to use the machines and apply Knauf Airless Finish. 

Emma explained, “Some of our trainers at the prisons had reservations about working with non-traditional plastering methods, but these concerns quickly abated once they heard from employers how in demand these skills actually are. Most of our tutors were just excited to use the product and learn from the Knauf trainers.”   

This plastering method is now being delivered within the prison curriculum at Thorn Cross and learners have taken quickly to using the machines. One learner who took part in the classes has already been placed in a temporary position with Bluegyp

Enthusiastic about the collaboration, Emma said, “This was a fantastic opportunity to provide our learners with training for in demand skills. We are very grateful for the knowledge and support we received from all parties. I think other prisons should mirror the model and create similar training opportunities for their learners. I do know that there is a big interest in spray plaster and other prisons are keen to get involved.” 

Adam commented: “I was really happy to get involved with Novus and would be more than happy to work with them again. It’s good to get more Knauf product out onto building sites but it’s also great to take part in a valuable programme that helps get inmates back out into the working world.” 

Read more about Knauf’s similar work in the Bounce Back blog series. It follows Knauf and our distribution partner Encon Insulation & Nevill Long’s involvement with the Bounce Back charity, an organisation that supports learners, both in prison and those recently released, to learn practical industry skills. 

To find out more about Novus visit,

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