A group of inmates at Northward Prison have completed a pilot vocational training program in which they undertook training in the construction trade.

After weeks of training and work, the inmates revealed the fruits of their labor on June 28 – a new maintenance storage facility on the prison grounds.

This event marked the conclusion of the first phase of the “Fresh Start” vocational training program’s pilot project, with each inmate involved in the project receiving a certificate of completion, approved by the Cayman Contractors Association.

It began with eight weeks of training, courtesy of the leaders of local construction companies, teaching inmates the construction trade and the skills required to obtain a job in the industry, according to a press release from Her Majesty’s Prisons Service.

Aduke Joseph-Caesar, the Prisons Service deputy director of rehabilitation, said the prison worked with the Cayman Contractors Association to create the pilot program.
“[The Fresh Start program] aims to reduce any behavior problems within the prison by replacing inmates’ idle time with constructive work and providing them with the opportunity to meet real life employers,” she said.

Program instructors, from left, Neil Armstrong with Clan Construction Ltd., Brent McComb with The Phoenix Group and Eric Kline with Encompass Cayman, are pictured at the ceremony with Fenslie Smith of the University College of the Cayman Islands.

Prison Director Neil Lavis added that the goal of the program is to reduce inmates’ risk of re-offending by teaching them marketable skills and providing them with knowledge they can use to find employment as they reintegrate into society.

Prison Director Neil Lavis

Community support

The program’s instructors included Brent McComb with The Phoenix Group, Neil Armstrong with Clan Construction Ltd. and Eric Kline with Encompass Cayman.
Mr. Lavis said the partnerships that were made with all of the construction companies and businesses “were critical to the overall success of this project.”

Other local businesses such as Supermix Cayman, A. L. Thompson’s, Cox Lumber Ltd., Flowers Group and Kirk Home Centre donated materials and supplies to the program.

Mr. Lavis said that phase two of the project will include electrical and plumbing work, in addition to finishing touches on the exterior and interior of the building.

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