Job skills courses given to soon to be released inmates at Northward

Soon to be released prisoners are getting a helping hand from the National Workforce Development Agency to set them on a career path outside the prison walls.

“It’s a two-week soft skills programme comprised of everything from preparing yourself for the workplace. In terms of the way that you make your first impression, communication skills, dealing with difficult situations,” said Programme coordinator Tania Ebanks.

The programme is an initiative between the NWDA and prisons.

Twelve inmates enlisted to boost their employability.

“We thought that this would give them an additional opportunity to successfully return to the workforce, we’re working on their self-confidence, we’re working on their presentations skills,” said Ms. Ebanks.

Ms. Ebanks said this type of help is essential for their well being for life after prison.

“If we can give them those tools that reduce their chance of recidivism and this is one part that we can offer then we will contribute to the greater well being of that individual.”

Inmate Leighton Rankine said the programme was valuable to him and the other participants.

“It’s very hard for us to obtain work or get a job and there were lots of things, the course was very informative,” said Mr. Rankine.

He said programmes like this give the helping hand that some inmates truly need.

“We normal people we make mistakes but at the end of the day we have to leave prison and come back out into the community. I don’t see where we shouldn’t be given second chances we need the tools to function right and be a productive part of society when we do get back out,” said Mr. Rankine.

The two-week programme included topics like resume writing, interviewing skills and active listening.

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Felicia Rankin

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