“Education in prisons should be transformational, but education only transforms people’s lives when it leads to meaningful fulltime employment” was the opening statement by UCOL Executive Dean of Engineering and Applied Technologies at a Regional Engagement Forum held by the Minister of Corrections in Palmerston North recently.
Over 100 local and regional businesses, community organisations, government agencies, service providers, employers, and education providers from the lower North Island attended the event to share their stories or find out how to help people, who have been in prison, into employment. Mr Reilly spoke about giving people the opportunity they need for education or employment. “If you have a steady job you are less likely to find your way back to the Corrections system.”
UCOL has partnered with the Department of Corrections
at Manawatū Prison to establish a workshop facility to deliver Carpentry programmes since 2009, and soon will add Small Engines and Lowe’s Kick for the Seagulls programmes.
Mr Reilly said success is attributed to two deliberate strategies, the first is role modelling, and the second is a relationship based learning approach which is unique to UCOL called Te Atakura
. “I send my best Tutors to teach these young men, we must. At UCOL, we know that students learn best when they have great support from dedicated teachers who understand their individual strengths and help them develop new ones. Above all else, we value the relationship between learners and teachers.”
UCOL and Corrections staff work together towards the common goal of success for the student. The environment they create is one of support and where students feel cared for. “At the graduation ceremonies I see and feel a genuine hope for the graduates from the Corrections Staff, it’s very inspiring. We are doing very good work together.”
Several stands were on display, showcasing the programmes that give offenders a second chance.
UCOL's Danny Reilly being thanked by Acting Chief Executive Corrections Jeremy Lightfoot.
To read what Corrections had to say about the event, see their tweet