PORTLAND’S Young Offender Institution is looking for people who want to make a difference to join them for a recruitment day.
Staff at the YOI talked the Echo about the changes and challenges at the iconic Portland building, ahead of the recruitment day this Tuesday. (12)
Between 6pm-8.30pm the recruitment event will be held at the Governor’s Community Garden by the YOI for anyone interested in finding out more about the different instructional positions.
A recent inspection highlighted that more purposeful activity was needed and staff at the YOI said they had already put steps in place to tackle this, including a recruitment drive.
Instructors are needed to help teach a number of different courses within the YOI and the recruitment will go on until August 22.
Currently courses being run include: woodworking, painting and decorating, agriculture, cooking, barber courses, football and rugby academies, construction and bricklaying, a Rail track course and even horse whispering.
The Echo got to see the workshops and saw how the YOI works with businesses to provide work and training for the men, including working with Henry to create parts to make their pneumatic vacuum cleaners more energy efficient. Currently 63 percent of the men are in work or training - 200 work in the kitchens, laundry, recycling and workshops and around 150 are doing courses with Weston College. Once the new instructors are in place that will increase the activity places by around 150-200 and take the YOI to where it needs to be.
Governor of the YOI James Lucas said that the early feedback from a recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons was that purposeful activity was an area of concern.
He said: “There are not enough jobs for prisoners at the moment. Hence we are really keen to get the new instructors in.
“HMIP have four test areas: respect, safety, purposeful activity and resettlement. The fact prisoners are spending too much time locked up has impacted across all areas. It’s going to change.”
He added: “The YOI is in a time of change. As of today we have 400 adult prisoners and 173 young adults. There’s been a fundamental shift in the area of prisoners coming in.”
Mr Lucas said they would be looking at the way they could shift to meet the needs of the changing prison population.
He said: “I’m really proud to work here. The staff do some exceptional work with some challenging prisoners. This report has said we have to do more, we have to be better- and that’s what we are going to do.”
Louise Cox is activities manager at the YOI she said that prisoners wanted to work.
Miss Cox said tomorrow’s recruitment event would be a chance for people to meet the staff and prehaps break down some stereotypes.
She said: “What we want is people that want to make a difference. This isn’t just a job- this is more than a job. It’s about becoming a role model to people that haven’t had that caring or empathy shown towards them.”
She added: “It’s open for anyone to come up.” She said they were interested in people’s experience not just qualifications.