Prisoners working on Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) Grounds Maintenance teams will be able to study towards a National Certificate Horticulture Levels 1 & 2 from this week.
Corrections Inmate Employment have been working alongside the New Zealand Horticulture Industry Training Organisation to develop a programme for offenders which accurately reflects their day to day work.
“We’ve been working hard to develop a tailored training programme for our grounds maintenance teams, and we’re now able to get them started on training towards their National Certificates,” says CIE National Manager Grounds and Asset Maintenance Dawn Benefield.
“Prisoners working in the nurseries or organic gardens run by CIE already work towards National Certificates in Horticulture, and now our grounds maintenance teams can start NZQA accredited study as well.
“As part of developing this qualification framework, we’ve also looked at where we can provide additional training to our instructors, to ensure they have the necessary qualifications to deliver the new programme.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for CIE. We have grounds maintenance teams in all 20 prison sites around the country, and we can now offer those prisoners the chance to work towards recognised qualifications which can potentially help them gain employment on release,” says Dawn.
“Offenders will be learning how to maintain tools, safe handling of agrichemicals, planning and planting beds, basic arborist skills - a whole range of really useful general horticultural training. Lots of employers, for example local and regional councils, look for applicants with this type of qualification.
“Anything that can help offenders to gain sustainable employment on release is a big positive for us. Research shows that this can be a key factor to reducing reoffending, which in turn helps keep our communities safe,” says Dawn.
The new horticultural training will be rolled out across the country this week, with instructors from the northern region receiving their new training materials today.
Note to reporters: last financial year, 35 prisoners employed through CIE achieved their Level 2 National Certificates in Horticulture.
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