Beating Adversity through Self-Employment

BASE (Beating Adversity through Self-Employment) is a self-employment training course.

Originally 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 whilst in custody.

The course content helps course participants to:
– re-evaluate themselves in ways they may never have considered
– re-engage with their families, where permitted
– understand how businesses operate; establish a solid training foundation
– turn a business concept into a fully worked up business plan
– demonstrate to prospective employers levels of business insights
– overcome employment barriers; build confidence, self-belief, self-esteem
– decouple from their past


Any UK prisoner with ambition, ability and determination who has been released from custody, even on Day 1 of release.

The course is also suitable for users genres of different backgrounds & lived experiences who have not had any involvement with the criminal justice system.

Families of ex-offenders can pre-register family members in readiness for their release from custody – as can Special Interest Groups supporting ex-offenders to transition back into the community.

Families wishing to pre-register family members (or Special Interest Groups wishing to pre-register service beneficiaries) must first register their interest in doing so by contacting ExGate Ltd via email:

What is BASE?

BASE comprises a printed workbook with matched training content.

  • If service users are accessing the training in its, primary, online distance-learning format, the matched training content is available via secure portal access.
  • If service users are accessing the learning from face-to-face teaching, the matched training content is delivered direct to them by a trainer in the room.

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 (or via PowerPoint if in a face-to-face setting). Students are, of course, also able to make additional notes if they wish.

The BASE Workbook, once populated with 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.

Course content

Course module sessions have been packaged into videos (or face-to-face periods) 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 (i.e. if someone’s capacity for distance-learning is 3 hours a day, they could complete the course in around 8 calendar days, or two working weeks if their capacity for online learning was a little less at 2.50 hours a day).

Our face-to-face training format lasts 5 working days. Ideally the course is delivered across 5 consecutive days, but in some circumstances arrangements can be made to deliver the course more flexibly.


BASE is currently 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 and gain access to the online content

Access to the BASE digital training content involves a secure logon process and is simple to do.

Individual Service User Registrations:

Individual service users must self-fund the cost of the course and complete a simple payment process as part of their registration process before the online training content is made available to them. This is a one-off payment taken at the time of course registration. No further costs are owed.

For individuals the registration and secure content access process is:

  1. First register your interest in BASE by contacting ExGate Ltd via email:, or by using our Contact Form. Please provide details of: your name, email address, contact telephone number and delivery address for the BASE Workbook. We need all this information in order to be able to raise an invoice and send you the BASE Workbook.
  2. We will then invoice you, via email, for £75.00 for the distance-learning BASE course subscription. You will be able to settle the invoice directly and securely by opening the invoice and clicking on the secure card payment link in the invoice itself. If you prefer to make a bank transfer rather than a card payment, details of our bank Sort Code and Account Number can be found on our invoice.
  3. Once we have confirmed payment receipt we will mail out the BASE Workbook, by tracked mail, to the nominated delivery address. Accompanying every BASE Workbook will be an alphanumeric Unique Access Code (UAC) affixed to the inside front cover.
  4. When you receive the BASE Workbook come to this website and register for access to the secure online content using the UAC that you have been given and your email address.
  5. Once you have registered and supplied your UAC you will then have unrestricted access to the secure online training content for BASE – and can leave and return to the training content at your leisure whenever you want and at any time of day.

Pre-registration of Individuals by Families:

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

Families wishing to pre-register family members must first register their interest in doing so by contacting ExGate Ltd via email: or by contacting us via our Contact Form, providing the same information cited above that individual registrants need to provide, plus their own contact coordinates in case there are registration queries.

Once pre-registered and the course paid for, they will receive a copy of the BASE Workbook through the post along with the UAC in readiness for the moment of their nominated individual’s release from confinement. Once the prisoner has been released from custody, access to the secure online training can then be gained by applying the UAC.

Bulk Contract Registrations by Special Interest Groups:

Occasionally ExGate Ltd negotiates bulk supply contracts with Special Interest Groups associated with reducing re-offending or helping ex-offenders to transition back into the community.

In these situations ExGate Ltd supplies a bulk delivery of BASE Workbooks along with Unique Access Codes (UAC) to the organisation’s warehouse for local drawdown or distribution, one BASE Workbook and one associated UAC for each service user provided for under each bulk supply contract. Service users supported via these bulk supply contracts then enter the UAC that is affixed inside the front cover of their BASE Workbook to gain access to the secure online content at no additional cost to themselves.

Special Interest Groups wishing to buy course places in bulk must first register their interest in doing so by contacting ExGate Ltd via email: or by contacting us via our Contact Form.

How to apply for direct face-to-face training

Any organisation wishing to invite ExGate Ltd to provide face-to-face training should contact us by email to in order to indicate their needs and receive details of the face-to-face course programme and their associated costs.

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