Inmates at HMP Northward are upskilling as part of a programme to improve their chances of finding meaningful, sustained employment upon their release.
A group of 13 prisoners, who reached a significant milestone in their plumbing, electrical, carpentry, auto-mechanics and HVAC (Air conditioning) certifications, were recognised for their achievements to date during a ceremony at HMP Northward on Tuesday, 29 September.
The certifications offered by Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) were selected based on the professions in the highest demand in the Cayman Islands.
The 13 inmates have already completed a foundation course known as “Tools for Success”, which comprises 13 modules and teaches essential skills for acquiring and maintaining a job, including the development of CVs, interviewing skills and time management. Graduates from the ‘Tools for Success’ programme only then engage with the ‘Core Curriculum’ programme which provides 9 practical assessments.
“Broadening the opportunities for those in custody to find meaningful, sustained employment is critical to reducing their likelihood to reoffend once released. Working to ensure that the time spent with HMCIPS is constructive will ultimately lead to safer communities, which is a key objective for this government,” commented the Minister for Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP.
HMCIPS has had a vocational training programme for some time. However, the 13 prisoners are the first to complete courses offered by HMCIPS in collaboration with local training company, Inspire Cayman Training, which provides inmates with globally recognised qualifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
This enables inmates to continue with their studies even after they have served their time in prison should they wish to do so.
Inspire Cayman’s Director, Michael Myles said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to provide international accredited courses to the instructors and participants at HMCIPS. We are extremely proud of the group for their commitment to excellence and willingness to learn new skills. This accomplishment speaks volumes of the good teaching of the instructors and the enthusiasm of the participants.”
Commenting on HMCIPS’ collaboration with Inspire Cayman, the Director of Prisons, Steven Barrett said, “Through strategic partnerships with the private sector, we can build a better connection between individuals in our custody and local industries. The acquisition of the skills and qualifications through this programme will help to remove some of the traditional barriers presented to those leaving prison when it comes to applying for jobs in the future. It is hoped that this programme, for those who commit fully to it, will have much better prospects of finding and maintaining meaningful employment going forward”
Following the initial success of the new programme, work is underway to see more inmates interested in pursuing a future career in a trade take advantage of the courses available.
VT Supervisor Dr. Dwight Simms stated, “Our affiliation with NCCER through our partner, Inspire Cayman Training Centre, potentially gives us access to over 1,200 training and assessment programmes and introduces us to a significant local employer network; this gives us considerable flexibility going forward.”
Dr. Simms added, “The programme provides a valuable transition from custody to the community by enabling prisoners registered with the programme to continue their learning after they leave us. This is added value to a learning journey that can be transformational.”