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Levin Offenders Gain NZQA Qualifications

Levin Offenders Gain NZQA Qualifications

Six community-based offenders in Levin now have NZQA qualifications thanks to an initiative that saw them learning while completing community work.

The offenders completed unit standards over a six week period that saw them learning how to keep food safe and work safely in a commercial kitchen.

Mark Cookson, Corrections’ Levin Service Manager said the training course was a joint effort across several areas of Corrections.

“The training was designed by Corrections’ Offender Employment team and delivered in Levin by a qualified cooking instructor from Manawatu Prison.

“It’s really benefited the offenders to learn while they have been completing their sentences. They now have a qualification and practical knowledge they can use at home or in the food business,” he said.

The course was part of the Work and Living Skills training programme that allows probation officers to direct up to 20 per cent of the sentence of community work (if over 80 hours) to be spent on work and living skills training.

“It’s the first time we’ve run a course like this, and we’re rolling similar training out to Community Corrections sites in Masterton, Feilding and Palmerston North.

Levin’s community garden, The Garden of Eden (He Tupu Ngatahi) also played a part in the course: produce in the course came from the garden. A number of offenders serve their community sentence in the garden that is managed by the Anglican Church.

“Reducing re-offending is Corrections’ top priority and by helping offenders to gain skills and qualifications, it could help them gain employment. Research shows that getting a sustainable job can reduce the likelihood of re-offending and help create safer communities,” Mr Cookson said.

Offenders can be sentenced to carry out between 40 and 400 hours of community work. They are encouraged to complete their hours as quickly as possible, and can work up to 10 hours a day, or up to 40 hours in any one week.

Corrections is committed to reducing re-offending by 25% by 2017. Community Corrections manages offenders to hold them to account to comply with their sentences and orders, reduce their likelihood of re-offending, minimise their risk to others, and help them become productive and contributing members of society.

The unit standards undertaken by the offenders were: Practise Food Safety Methods in a Food Business and Apply Safe Working Practices in a Commercial Kitchen.

ENDS

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