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26th Feb 2024

Government announce plans to give prisoners apprenticeships in new scheme

Simon Kelly

“Education and training allow people to see alternative choices.”

Prisoners in Ireland close to their release date are set to be offered apprenticeships as a means of helping them back to work.

On Monday, Minister of Higher Education Simon Harris and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne will announce that prisoners will be offered places on two pilot programmes – a catering apprenticeship and a programme in retrofitting.

The course will give the individuals the skillset to gain meaningful employment once they are released from prison and is aimed at preventing re-offending.

Prisoners to be offered chance at apprenticeship from behind bars.

The first programme will start on Monday in Midlands Prison, with Minister Harris saying: “‘We know we need to do more to improve education and upskilling opportunities for people in custody to support their rehabilitation and employment post-release.

“This is the aim of the Prison Education Taskforce, chaired by myself and Minister Browne.”

The Prison Education Taskforce consists of the Irish Prison Service, SOLAS, the Probation Service, the Education and Training Boards.

The taskforce’s aim is to ensure greater alignment between prison education and the tertiary education system.

Simon Harris

“This programme will be offered to those who are close to release – and will equip them with the training and skills they need to become active participants in the jobs market,” Mr Harris continued.

“These courses will give them the skills they need to get sustainable jobs on release, while also creating skilled workers to help deliver on our targets under Housing for All.

“Education and training allow people to see alternative choices, a different future and to move away from criminality. We can’t underestimate the importance of taking an employment focused view of education in our prisons.”

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