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A success story for prisoners studying with BIITE in 2018

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Dr Wendy Ludwig addressing graduates

Batchelor Institute is proud to be working alongside the Northern Territory Department of the Attorney-General and Justice to improve the educational levels and employability skills of offenders across the NT. Through a Service Level Agreement, prisoners from the Northern Territory’s Darwin and Alice Springs Correctional Centres are able to access a wide range Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications, delivered by both Batchelor and Correctional Industry officers, all with the aim of increasing employability skills of prisoners on release and reducing the recidivism rate.

On Thursday 11th of October, 2018 at the two separate ceremonies, split between men and women, 95 students graduated from a range of VET courses, including Visual Arts, Agrifood Operations, Engineering, Business and Foundation Skills. This is a pattern of continued success of programs adding to the 117 completions from earlier in the year.

Graduations are always a time for celebration and recognition of achievement. They serve as an inspiration for graduates to continue their studies and make positive changes in their lives. These graduation ceremonies were no different, with addresses given by Mr. Scott McNairn, Commissioner, Northern Territory Correctional Services, Dr Wendy Ludwig, Deputy CEO-VET, Batchelor Institute.  For the female graduation an address was also given by Her Honour, The Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory.

A special guest at the men’s ceremony was Mr Charlie King representing the NO MORE Campaign. As a symbolic sign of solidarity the One Mob, Different Country dancers linked arms with dignitaries and each other to display a commitment against domestic violence.

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Mr Charlie King linking arms in support against family violence

For the male graduation, a performance from the One Mob, Different Country dancers helped to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the graduates.

Later in the year on 14th Dec 2018 a group of prisoners were recognised and acknowledged for their hardwork and course completions in Cert II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways and Cert I in Business. These prisoners could not participate in the graduation ceremony on 11th October.

This program has grown significantly over the last five years, rising from 23 students for 2013 to 212 in 2018.

“I congratulate all of you for undertaking these studies and completing them. The skills and knowledge that you have gained here should and can support you to bring about positive social change for yourselves, your families and your communities”, Dr Ludwig said.

Graduations are also a time for the graduates themselves to give recognition, comments presented by some of the graduates on the day included:

“It is good for us to gain these skills doing something most of us probably wouldn’t do on the outside. I would also like to thank the prisoners who helped to run the classes, their help is always appreciated, as well as the people at Batchelor who make it possible for us to do these courses. Cert I in Visual Arts was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing Cert II.”

“It meant a lot to us and we have learnt other skills, such as working together with respect as a class. We had lots of fun and enjoyed learning new art skills.”

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Prisoners with their Certificates after the Ceremony on the 14th December