On 18 December Rimutaka Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) programme and thirteen prisoners will celebrate their successful completion of Building Construction and Allied Trades (BCAT) unit standards.
The BCATs programme is taught by Weltec staff and has been running since March in a specifically made workshop facility within the prison’s compound.
BCATs is a Level 2 programme and is regarded as an introduction to joinery and construction. Three courses are run each year, over the course of twelve weeks and sixteen prisoners are accepted for each intake.
The unit standards cover the safe use of hand and power tools and timber framing, decking and outdoor furniture and either minor concrete works or a paving project.
For many of the prisoners involved the graduation ceremony will be the first they have attended as recipients.
“Prisoners have found the BCAT course very useful for their development - being able to use power tools, build small furniture items, decking and concreting and also completing first aid certificates - skills they can use now and more importantly for employment or on release,” says CIE Area Manager Kathleen Masoe.
“The training facility was built in March 2009 and the classroom has been designed in consultation with Weltec and is modelled as closely as possible on their facilities in Petone.”
“As part of the training of prisoners the new facility was left partially unfinished and is gradually being completed as part of the training being done by BCAT course participants - such as decking, concreting and shelving.”
The prisoners will each gain 54 credits in total towards a Building and Construction and Allied Trades (BCAT) National Certificate.
“A high proportion of those who enter prisons do so without any formal qualifications, and the BCAT course is a great way for prisoners to learn new skills and potentially find themselves a place in the labour market once they leave prison.”
Research shows that prisoners who find sustainable employment on release are less likely to re-offend.
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