Life and job prospects for prisoners on their release will be greatly enhanced by newly acquired learning and skills qualifications, Justice Minister David Ford has said.
The Minister was speaking after presenting City and Guilds certificates to 30 serving prisoners in Magilligan who have achieved accreditations in literacy, numeracy, ICT, GCSE Art, food safety and catering.
David Ford said: “I commend these prisoners who want to change and are planning for life outside prison. I have no doubt the skills they have learned will go a long way to improving their personal lives.
“The partnership between the Prison Service and North West Regional College in Magilligan, and Belfast Metropolitan College in Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood College, provides a comprehensive education and vocational curriculum that focuses on recognised skills and qualifications, based on each prisoner’s individual needs. By increasing their job prospects we are also facilitating their return to the community where they can make a positive contribution, at the same time reducing the risk of re-offending and creating a safer Northern Ireland.”
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said: “My Department is fully committed to working with the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Prison Service to develop opportunities and engage people in learning. Education and training in prison settings holds the key to increasing opportunities for prisoners to make more positive life choices.
“The partnership with Further Education Colleges ensures that prisoners are able to access a range of high quality accredited training opportunities that will equip them with the skills they need to enhance their employment prospects upon release, and in turn make a positive contribution to both the economy and wider society.”
Calum Morrison, Director of North West Regional College Limavady Campus added: “As a College we are delighted with the achievements of all of the learners at Magilligan Prison to-date, particularly given the range of accredited programmes we have delivered. These are significant milestones for the learners in their aim to progress their life and employment prospects, and we wish each of them further learning successes in the future.”