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Spring Hill Prisoners Cook Up New Skills

Spring Hill Corrections Facility Prisoners Cook Up New Skills

More prisoners at Spring Hill Corrections Facility have been gaining useful hospitality training that will not only help them in their own kitchens on release, but could also lead to employment opportunities.

Spring Hill Corrections Facility offers national certificates in hospitality to men onsite. However, until earlier this year, this opportunity was not available across certain areas of the site.

Prisoners on remand, in segregation, and those undergoing treatment programmes have been receiving in-unit training since March this year. This training also enables them to be considered for employment in the prison kitchen once they have moved to the appropriate units.

Taking a holistic approach, the courses also include numeracy and literacy skills. The participants undertake various activities and exercises with both theory and practical components, which also assist them to develop self-directed learning skills.

Acting Prison Director Christine Faull says that focusing on food safety, preparation skills and cooking, the skills learnt are valuable:

“These are tangible, real-life skills that many of our men didn’t have before. There are numerous opportunities for jobs in the hospitality sector around the country, but even those who choose a different career path benefit from the learnings they achieve here.

This kind of positive life-experience and sense of achievement can be great for building self-esteem and worth – two things that also help reduce the risk of re-offending. ”

One of the graduates echo’s Christine’s sentiments and explains the other benefits he found from the course:

“I learnt the importance of goal setting, working to a plan, backing myself up and having a go – stepping out of my comfort zone. I also learnt that there’s more to cooking then just cooking, and that I’m capable, that I could put what I’ve learnt into practice, and that I should back myself more.”

Each class has five participants and 21 men have completed the course to date, achieving a total of 74 NZQA accredited unit standards worth a total of 184 credits.

The practical assessments involve preparing food similar to that which they would eat at home such as fruit salad, potato salad, pasta salad, grilled steak, grilled sausages, and vegetables.

Fortunately for the men, one of the instructors is a qualified butcher. He has facilitated knife safety and skills sessions with participants claiming that their favourite part of the course is learning about all of the different cuts of meat and preparation methods.

Since undertaking the training, a few of the participants have expressed an interest in becoming butchers and chefs.


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