Prisoners at a minimum security prison in Western Australia have been given a second chance to make something of their lives. They are being trained to engage in horticulture or construction work so that when they leave prison they can become productive members of society.
The prisoners from Pardelup Prison Farm, a minimum security prison located outside Mount Barker are given the opportunity to receive certificates so that they can gain employment in these sectors once they are released from prison.
The prison located about 27 kilometres west of Mt Barker in Western Australia’s Great Southern region is also a working farm which grows crops and raises livestock.
The farm is situated amongst other farms and vineyards off the Muir Highway. The farm called Pardelup is used to train the inmates on the operation of a farm and agricultural work. The prison inmates are also given a chance to complete training and get accredited in subjects like horticulture and construction.
An article on Abc.net.au quoted the prison’s superintendent, Richard Butcher who said that Pardelup places a strong emphasis on training so that inmates can become ready for a sustainable life on the outside. He went on to explain:
‘One of the key aspects of helping people to live a healthy life and a life free of crime,is that they’ve got the skills and the employability skills, to get a job when they are released.’
The farm isn’t just about training, it is a financially viable farm providing supplies of fruit and vegetables making up 28 per cent of supplies to Western Australian prisons.
The article also explained:
A workforce of more than 20 inmates tend to vegetable crops, a fruit orchard and a hydroponic tomato shed, which grows 10 to 12 tonnes of tomatoes each year.
This story is encouraging because if prisoners can turn their lives around and learn a new skill, there is hope for others out there that are dissatisfied with their lives.
One of the industries that is welcoming new workers at the moment due to a boom in activity is the construction sector.
Workers in the construction industry are in high demand as we experience a nation-wide construction boom and skills shortage.
Those people who are grappling with the idea of pursuing a career in construction or even those who are just interested in learning more about the industry, the first step is completing general construction safety training and obtaining a White Card accreditation, to be eligible for employment on a construction site.
Even prison inmates who seek construction work on their release will need to complete the training, made mandatory by the federal government. Under unified work health and safety laws introduced in 2012, not only is this training mandatory but once it is completed successfully and the White Card gained, workers can seek work anywhere in Oz because the accreditation is nationally recognised.