Research shows that time in prison makes individuals significantly less employable.
Providing education, training and employment services for offenders is one of the key ways to support resettlement of ex-offenders back into the community and reduce their risk of re-offending.
The NSF and various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) made provision for an allocation of R66.4 million to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for a five-year offender skills development intervention to assist around 11 000 offenders with various skills programmes. These ranged from building and plastering to tiling, plumbing, painting, electricity, welding, vehicle maintenance and repairs, vegetable production and chef assistant and computer skills.
The goal of the project was to provide offenders with access to occupationally directed skills programmes that would lead to the acquisition of skills needed in the labour market. This would create access to employment opportunities and entrepreneurship within various sectors. All learners were trained in accredited programmes, and 98.3% were Historically Disadvantaged Individuals, 7.2% were women and 60.7% were youth.
The offender rehabilitation path strategy includes interventions to ensure effective management of Correctional Sentence Plans, the restructuring of the Management Area and Centre levels of the department, increased involvement of offenders in correctional programmes, and the involvement of offenders in development programmes, especially educational programmes and skills development, in production workshops and agriculture.
Objectives of the project were to:
- provide project management services;
- recruit accredited training providers;
- implement the identified skills programmes;
- provide learner support to ensure achievement of results;
- conduct monitoring and evaluation of training delivery.
Learners who were found to be competent were able to earn credits from the skills programme, thereby providing opportunities for further education and training,entrepreneurship or employment.