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Careerforce’s Business Development Consultant Elaine Jame, Arohata Education Tutor Ruth McAulay, Practice Manager Education & Training Marylou Sloane, and Careerforce’s Jo Rea, Workplace Adviser, and Workforce Assessor Jeanette Hopley.

A woman in Arohata Prison is the first to achieve a cleaning qualification while in prison.

The long-term prisoner has earned the New Zealand Certificate in Cleaning Level 2 through Industry Training Provider (ITO) Careerforce.

The qualification recognises the skills and knowledge of those employed in the commercial, residential, health and domestic cleaning industries, as well as for those entering the cleaning industry.

Jane* was using the prison’s Secure Online Learning suite when she spotted the course and asked an education tutor if she could study towards the qualification.

She had been working in the prison cleaning up to five hours a day, and says “I really enjoy cleaning, and if I can get a qualification from it, why not?”

Marylou Sloane, Corrections’ Regional Practice Manager Education & Training helped connect the prison with Careerforce.

“It’s been a rewarding pilot to be involved in. Through working together we’ve been able to maximise naturally-occurring evidence from the cleaning Jane has been doing to support her with this qualification.”

Elaine James, Careerforce Business Development Consultant was thrilled to be involved in the project.

“It’s been a privilege to help support this first cleaning qualification in prison working with Jo Rea, Careerforce workplace advisor and Jeanette Hopley workplace assessor.

It’s a fabulous opportunity for prison based trainees to undergo work-based learning, and transfer what they’ve learnt into a qualification. We’re really looking forward to building on the success of this pilot.”

Sue Abraham, Arohata’s Deputy Prison Director says it’s been a great team approach to offer the qualification.

“I’m proud of the way everyone has supported Jane. She’s now studying towards her Level 3 qualification, and she’s encouraged other site cleaners to consider studying as well.”

Jane was supported by Arohata Education Tutor Ruth McAulay and Careerforce’s assessors who marked her workbooks.  Custodial staff were on hand to provide the observation component required.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though: there were aspects of the qualification that challenged Jane to think and apply her knowledge.  Completing an accident or incident report, which she hadn’t encountered before tested Jane, but she worked her way through it after talking with staff.

The qualification is one of several Jane’s earned while in prison, having left school at the end of the third form with no qualifications.

*Not her real name

Reproduced with kind permission from the Department of Corrections