A graduation ceremony was held yesterday at Manawatu Prison to mark the completion of the first prison-based Universal College of Learning (UCOL) elementary construction skills course.
Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE), National Prisoner Training Manager Saen O’Brien says 12 prisoners graduated from the UCOL trained and New Zealand Qualifications Authority accredited course.
“The course, which started early November, has seen prisoners earn a National Certificate in Elementary Construction Skills (entry level) level one.
“At the end of the course the prisoners put the skills they learnt into practice by building a scaled down model house which will be donated to a suitable local charity for use as a utility house.”
Saen says this is a great achievement for these prisoners with the majority of them never undertaking any form of education that has led them to earn formal qualifications.
“This qualification precedes the National Certificate in Building Construction and Allied Trades (BCAT’s) level two which commences next year.”
Saen says prisoner employment and trade training is an important part of a prisoners’ reintegration back into society.
“The last prison census showed 55 percent of prisoners did not have a job before entering prison and 52 percent 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’s 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 continue in after release.
Saen says CIE works closely with Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations to provide up-to-date, relevant and accredited training for prisoners.
“We are looking forward to continuing this partnership with UCOL in 2009 with courses in carpentry scheduled throughout the year. We expect to put 56 prisoners from Manawatu Prison through these courses which will see prisoners graduate with level two certificates in BCAT’s.”
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