Beating Adversity through Self-Employment

Coming shortly! A new service created for ex-prisoners in the community.

While our core training is structured to provide self-employment training to prisoners in custody, we have always been conscious of the needs of prisoners who have left the criminal justice system, but who still remain unemployed, or who are only able to pick up low-paid ad-hoc work.

So, with this ex-prisoner cohort very much in mind, we have created a training course that supports the ex-offender community.

BASE Helpline: 0330 223 2410 or

BASE (Beating Adversity through Self-Employment) has been specifically curated to meet the needs of ex-prisoners in the community.

The course provides a grounded alternative to the problem of restricted self-employment training opportunities and variable digital training access in-gate.


Any UK prisoner who has been released from custody, even on Day 1 of release, can register for the course.

Families can also pre-register family members in readiness for their release from custody.

Prison establishments or probation regions may also register or pre-register named individuals if a Service Contract exists between ExGate Ltd and a participating prison establishment or probation region.

National endorsement

BASE is endorsed by the national awards body National Open College Network (NOCN) via its One Awards Quality Mark. The One Awards Quality Mark provides important, independent, recognition of the quality, standard of the content and delivery of the training that we offer. To qualify for a NOCN Completion Certificate applicants must be registered course participants.

Delivery method

BASE is delivered to any ex-prisoner with unrestricted internet access who has transitioned out of custody back into the community.

By offering access to digital content outside custody it is then very simple for the course participants to tap in for training at any time of their choosing, for however long a training session they want to do, and from any geographical location.

BASE comprises a printed workbook with matched digital training content. Course participants do not have to make notes from scratch from the videos, but fill in blanks in their workbooks, the information for which is all explained and shown in the various video conversations and on shared screens. They are, of course, also able to make additional notes if they wish.

Course content

Course module sessions have been packaged into videos of varying length, depending on their coverage or complexity.

Digital training content is only available via our website and currently comprises 23.50 hours of video training spread across a total of 36 separate videos.

The workbook, once populated with information from our matched digital training content, will become a valued reference source for anyone embarking on the self-employment journey and will develop into a treasured business companion for years to come.

BASE is only available in English.


Following an introductory Overview section, the course begins with course participants being asked to complete six questionnaires under the heading Self-Assessments. Each of the questionnaires explores different aspects of course participants, and have been designed to remind them who they are, what they know, who they know etc. While all the questionnaires are personal, course participants are encouraged to share their responses with people they trust, in case others see different skills or different traits in them that they themselves are not aware of. The responses to the questionnaires help course participants candidly to re-evaluate themselves in terms of their background, capacity and abilities to establish and operate a business.

Under the heading Character & Leadership, the course next examines what it takes to operate and manage a business and asks course participants to review previous employment experiences and flags how frailty in different aspects of our lives can impact what we seek to achieve. Our logic in doing so is that recognising risk is half the solution.

Under the heading Job Skills the course explores transferrable skills and examines their relevance to what sort of skills running a business requires, eventually identifying commonly seen skills gaps.

The course then moves forward introducing the idea of self-employment, under the heading Introduction to Self-Employment, and what early considerations ought to take place in the mind of a budding entrepreneur. Time is spent reminding course participants of the strength and potential value of tapping into family networks. Time is also spent introducing course participants to how to look at markets and plan and control a business. Nuggets of experience are shared about how to control costs and grow profits. And cautionary information is shared on what causes businesses to fail.

Under the heading Business Models, the course next looks closely at four different business models to identify what is common to any business and what may be peculiar to differing business genres. By focusing upon wholesaling, manufacturing, contracting and services, the course content provides excellent insights into business genres that are common start-up choices.

The course then briefly covers some Staffing & Employment considerations.

Under the heading Business Planning, the course then moves forward with detailed instruction on what needs to be thought about and how to: prepare a Business plan; decide on how and where to set up business: analyse markets and market potential; market and sell goods or services; maintain record keeping; financially forecast and plan; secure backers; and navigate towards incubation and launch.

At the end of the workbook is an Addendum, which includes a useful bibliography of publications that can provide deeper information or different perspectives on running a business, if course participants want to know more.

How to subscribe

Subscribing to BASE is simple to do on this page and furnishes course registrants with a Unique Access Code and emailed secure logon instructions.

Access to the digital training content involves a secure logon process using the Unique Access Code.

If you have any questions about BASE, please contact our dedicated BASE Helpline on 0330 223 2410, or email

Course costs

Ex-prisoners in the community individually subscribe to BASE.

Families may also subscribe to BASE on behalf of their family member – however the family member must be at the point of discharge from custody, as the BASE service is not accessible in-gate for anyone still in custody, only ex-gate.

In some situations (but only if a Service Contract exists between ExGate Ltd and a participating prison establishment or probation region), the establishment/probation region will pick up the cost of the BASE course for named transitioning prisoners or ex-offenders already in the community. Those who qualify for the course under this contractual arrangement will be informed if their establishment/probation region is covering the cost of the course. Note: If you are an ex-prisoner and have not been informed that the cost of BASE is being covered by your establishment/probation region, then you must self-fund or someone else must fund the cost of registration on your behalf.

Because the delivery of BASE does not involve face-to-face training, regular course participant assessments, or group workshops as our XGSET course does in-gate, it has been possible to reduce the cost of the course to an exceptionally low price, making it not only excellent value for money, but also extremely affordable.

BASE costs just £75.00 per subscription.

This is a one-off payment taken at the time of registration. No further costs are due.

In order to qualify for this rate, registrants (or their families, or prison establishments/probation regions) must provide personal contact coordinates along with details of the prison establishment from which they were discharged and their Prison Number.

All personal information is securely stored and held in full compliance of GDPR.

BASE Helpline: 0330 223 2410 or