(CMR) The achievements of 11 inmates at HMP Northward were recognized on Thursday, 17 December after they were awarded international qualifications in their vocational studies.
Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) has a well-established vocational training program as part of their rehabilitation strategy designed to enhance inmates’ employability and reduce their likelihood to re-offend.
The cohort is the first to graduate with globally recognized qualifications (Core Curriculum-Introduction to Craft Skills) in Plumbing, Electrical, Carpentry, and HVAC (air-conditioning) as part of a collaboration with a local training company, Inspire Cayman which is providing the qualifications through the National Centre for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
“I congratulate this group of men for reaching this achievement at the end of what has been a challenging and unsettling year for many. These inmates now have further concrete evidence of their rehabilitation efforts sought and attained during their time in custody” commented the Minister for Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP, MP.
She continued, “Through the enhanced budgetary allocations and resourcing provided to HMCIPS, this government has long recognized the importance of empowering those in custody to make the right decisions in the future by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in life. This initiative is one of several that has been implemented in recent years, and represents the latest success in HMCIPS’ plan to better the lives of the people under their supervision.”
Speaking of the journey the 11 men have been on, Acting Prison Director, Daniel Greaves stressed the importance of having prisoners qualified and better prepared for reintegration into the community as well as the importance of partnering with NGOs, potential employers, families and the wider community who continue to give much-needed support to the prisoners.
“To reach this milestone was a team effort. Particular thanks go to the Director of Prisons, Steven Barrett whose vision was instrumental in establishing the program as well as close colleagues in the Ministry of Home Affairs for ensuring the necessary resources were provided,” Greaves said.
Greaves highlighted the ceremony as a momentous day for HMCIPS as it continues to proactively encourage prisoners to acquire skills and become better equipped for their futures.
The graduation ceremony brought a close to several weeks of study and assessments with all 11 prisoners reaching a minimum pass mark of 70% in the 9 modules of their chosen certification. Of those who began the course, 85% went on to successfully complete all requirements.
Several individuals received special commendations during graduation. Adrian Gea and Javier Howell were recognized as the top achievers in the program as well as Honour Roll. The Most Improved award went to Paul Myles, while the work of Malik Mothen and Jordan Powell was acknowledged as being most consistent.
“This is a significant milestone for HMCIPS as well as for the 11 gentlemen who have graduated,” said Dr. Dwight Simms, Vocational Training Programme Supervisor.
“They have all demonstrated real dedication and skill while completing their vocational training courses, and we’re all extremely pleased to see them achieve this success. Our partnership with Inspire Cayman has been especially fruitful and it is one which we look forward to continuing in the future as we work to create a bridge between inmates’ rehabilitation journey and the community they will eventually return to.”
Prior to the conclusion of their vocational studies, inmates were required to complete a foundation course known as “Tools for Success” which comprises 13 modules on essential skills for acquiring and maintaining a job, including the development of CVs, interviewing skills, and time management.
Following the success of the first cohort, 29 new students have already registered for the foundation program, Tools for Success, and they are set to begin their studies shortly. The 11 recent graduates will also be continuing with the program, taking their studies to the next level.
“Being the first cohort to have undertaken this program, these gentlemen will help pave the way for the next group of students who embark on this vocational training journey and we urge them to remain focused and committed as they progress to the next level of their own studies, ” said Acting Deputy Director of Rehabilitation, Mr. Stephen Atherley.