Inmates get career advice

Director of Prisons Steven Barrett addresses inmates at Northward Prison Chapel last week.

Members of government agencies and local businesses went to prison last week, not for any infractions, but to talk to inmates at Northward about re-entering the workforce.

Presentations on career options and gaining qualifications were held at Northward Prison Chapel on Wednesday, 31 July.

Ahead of the presentations, Director of Her Majesty’s Prison Service Steven Barrett in an opening address talked about the importance of stable employment in the transition from prison to the community.

“Being employed is known to be a factor in reducing re-offending for both men and women, however, there is also evidence that the stability and quality of work are important factors,” Barrett said.

“Work, when it is stable, is an enabler in helping to form those special social bonds that support future desistance from crime.”

Among the other speakers were Alfred McLeod, a correctional counsellor from the Prison Service, and Michael Myles from Inspire Cayman, who both gave details of the range of qualifications inmates had access to as part of the rehabilitation programme offered at the prison.

These qualifications are recognised worldwide and available to all inmates, regardless of their sentence, a press release on the event stated.

Katherine Whittaker, head of labour demands at the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman agency, spoke with the inmates about the types of careers with the highest workforce demand on the island, which, she said, include banking, legal, technology and healthcare.

Milly Serpell, founding partner and director at Stepping Stones Recruitment, talked about the inmates’ work readiness training, which teaches inmates practical skills such as writing a CV, performing well at interviews and general work ethic.

Following the presentations, inmates asked panellists questions or for advice about their own individual circumstances, and asked what support and guidance was available for them to start their own business or how they can patent an invention.