Two graduation ceremonies were held today at Rimutaka Prison to celebrate the completion of the first prison-based Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) painting and small engine courses.
National Manager of Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE), Brent Maughan says twenty-three prisoners received New Zealand Qualifications Authority credits that will count towards national certificates.
“Ten prisoners graduated from the painting course and 13 from the small motors course. The two courses were run over a 20 week period and delivered by WelTec tutors.
“Prisoners undertaking the painting course finished with credits that will count towards a National Certificate in Painting level 3 while prisoners undertaking the small motors course earned credits towards a National Certificate in Motor Industry level 2.
“This is a great achievement for these prisoners. The majority of them have never undertaken any form of education that has led them to earn formal qualifications.”
Brent says these prisoners will have the opportunity to put the skills they have gained into practice, if they meet the qualifications to join work parties.
“The prisoners who have studied painting may be able to join the painting work party at the prison which helps to maintain the facility while the other prisoners may have the opportunity to join the farm work party and maintain small farming equipment – depending on their security classification.”
Brent says prisoner employment and training is an important stepping stone for prisoners’ reintegration back into society.
“The last prison census showed 55 per cent of prisoners did not have a job before entering prison and 52 per cent had no formal qualifications. Research shows that prisoners who find sustainable employment on release are less likely to re-offend.
“Nearly all prisoners will be released from prison at some point and it is in everyone’s interest they reintegrate successfully back into the community.”
CIE aims to provide prisoners with meaningful employment opportunities, training and formal qualifications to assist them with finding work that they will maintain after release.
Brent says CIE works closely with industry training organisations to provide up-to-date, relevant and accredited training to prisoners.
“These are the first WelTec courses that have been run inside a prison and we are looking forward to continuing this partnership with courses scheduled for the next three years. We are even expanding the courses to include entry level carpentry.”
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