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Seven Christchurch prisoners will be awarded the hospitality industry’s National Certificate in Cookery in a special graduation ceremony at Christchurch Men’s Prison on Tuesday 17 February.
The prisoners, from Christchurch Men’s Prison and Rolleston Prison, have studied towards the qualification as part of the Department of Corrections’ Prisoner Employment Strategy, and in partnership with HSI, the hospitality industry’s training organisation (ITO).
This is the first time HSI has held a graduation inside a prison. “HSI operates in all areas of hospitality and we really support the prisons’ commitment to national qualifications in their rehabilitation programmes,” says HSI’s Chief Executive, Steve Hanrahan.
“The Level Two certificate provides the inmates with a nationally recognised industry qualification and skills that can help their future education and employment prospects when they’re released from prison,” Mr Hanrahan says.
To qualify for the qualification, the prisoners each passed 27 units testing a wide range of skills from food safety, cleaning and working in a team to technical cooking skills.
Corrections says that research shows prisoners who are able to find sustainable employment on their release from prison are less likely to reoffend.
Russell Baker, Assistant Sector Manager for Corrections Inmate Employment, says the course has been popular with prisoners. “The course is hugely beneficial to them; it gives them social skills, teaches them good work ethics and regular routines, and provides motivation for their lives once they’re released from prison,” he says.
“It’s quite an achievement to have people completing the course, and it’s great to recognise their achievement with this graduation. We have a great working relationship with HSI and Steve Hanrahan has been really supportive and behind the graduation,” Mr Baker says.
Prisoners studying the cookery course learn their skills from qualified chefs and instructors in the prison’s training kitchen and gain first-hand experience in the prison’s working kitchen. The course is flexible to each prisoner’s circumstances, depending on any other rehabilitation programmes they may be involved in, and their rostered hours in the kitchen.
HSI leads access to training and qualifications for the hospitality industry including overseeing, supervising, assisting and reviewing all nationally recognised training for chefs, waiters, baristas, bar persons, porters, hotel receptionists, room-attendants, house-keepers, supervisors and managers.
HSI also provides support and guidance to schools, polytechnics and providers that teach and assess Unit Standards through hospitality courses.