In a collaborative effort to reduce recidivism and increase employment opportunities, the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) recently facilitated a training course for inmates with Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS).
Twelve prisoners participated in the two-week programme, held at the NWDA offices, to develop their job skills and learn how to secure employment upon release.
Acting Director of NWDA Lois Kellyman stated:
“Through role play and hands-on learning, we wanted the inmates to have a greater understanding of the responsibilities and challenges they face,” The courses offered the inmates insight on how they can build upon their skills and position themselves for success.”
During the workshops the inmates received “soft skills” training on how to build positive relationships, be active listeners, overcome communication barriers and create a positive first impression in the workplace.
“To many employers, these skills are just as or more important than work related skills,” NWDA Programme Coordinator Tania Ebanks explains. “They are good indicators of how successful a prospective employee will be on the job.”
The programme also included a job search and employment readiness component in resume writing, interview techniques, customer service training and personal finance management.
“Without stable employment, many of them will return to incarceration. Too many inmates are not prepared to compete for jobs,” Prison Director Neil Lavis explains. “The idea is to send the inmates out through the prison gates with marketable skills that lead to a stable job and positive environment once they re-enter society.”
NWDA Outreach Development Coordinator Jean Solomon adds: “Through the workshops the participants now have a greater understanding of what steps to take as they begin to prepare for life beyond their prison sentence. Our hope is that the course inspired the inmates and gave them the confidence they need to re-join the workforce.