Twelve inmates from the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre obtained their level 2 certification in Basic Carpentry earlier this month after successfully completing the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) certification course with the HEART Trust NSTA.
The basic carpentry is the first of a four-part course to include, masonry, tiling and painting. At the end of the course, the inmates who complete all four phases will receive NVQJ certification in General Construction Level 2.
The course which is currently taught by Staff Officer Christopher Sinclair equips inmates to make cabinets, build work platforms, construct cubicles, install partitions, install sheetrock, hang doors, roofing as well as fundamental skills such as how to measure and cut and how to calculate the bill of quantities for a project using mixed medium. As a bonus, the inmates are also taught how to draw, sketch and read building plans.
Before being enrolled in the programme inmates must complete the basic literacy programme which includes reading, writing and arithmetic. The current cohort enrolled in the course are between ages 21 to 42 years old.
Staff Officer Sinclair explained that the inmates are excited to be a part of the programme “The inmates are elated to be involved in the programme, they have the zeal to learn as it gives them an opportunity to make a living for themselves and their families when they return to society. What we are giving them is certification recognized internationally and they have the option to continue to levels three and four upon successful reintegration.”
One inmate expressed that he was happy for the experience and committed to furthering his skills training when released. “I have learnt so much already and I am eager to learn more. I will not be here for the second phase and it is just a pity it is not a place where I could ask for an extension to finish up but I intend to complete the general construction certification when I leave because I know this will change my life.”
The second phase of the project which includes certification in masonry is scheduled to begin next month with 15 inmates. All four levels of the training are slated to completed by December with future plans to include electrical installation level 1 and 2.
The aim of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is to provide inmates with skills and educational opportunities which will assist them on release from the institution, to reintegrate into society.