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Learning and Skills Prison Contracts Awarded

Justice Minister David Ford has announced the organisations which have been awarded interim contracts for the provision of learning and skills in prisons.
Thursday, 23 January 2014

The awarding of these interim contracts further demonstrates the Prison Service’s commitment to assisting prisoners to positively change and develop, thus making our communities safer

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

Belfast Metropolitan College, the North West Regional College, the Prison Arts Foundation and Dairy Farm Training and People 1st Ltd. have been appointed to deliver the training and education curriculum in Northern Ireland’s three prison establishments for an initial period of one year, with the possibility of two extensions of six months each.

In congratulating the successful bidders, the Minister said;   

“The Prison Service is on a journey of change and the emphasis on learning and skills provision within prisons is increasingly driven by a need to put the prisoner first.  It is vital that the offender leaves prison a more rounded person than when they came in.

“The vision for learning and skills articulated by Dame Anne Owers and her team is now being rolled out. We know that enabling prisoners to access employment or education on release is a significant factor in helping rehabilitation and reducing re-offending.

“As far as is practicable, the education of prisoners should be integrated with our educational and vocational training system and delivered under the auspices of external educational institutions.

“The awarding of these interim contracts gives the Prison Service a greater range of choice and will allow for the delivery of a comprehensive educational and vocational programme, tailored to meet the individual needs of each prisoner.  Not only will it present opportunities to attain educational and vocational qualifications, but it will also allow them to develop their life and social skills.

“The Prison Service is committed to making Northern Ireland safer through working with offenders to reduce the risk of re-offending.   The awarding of these interim contracts further  demonstrates the Prison Service’s commitment to assisting prisoners to positively change and develop, thus making our communities safer.”

Notes to editors

1.There are three operational prisons in Northern Ireland; Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre and Prison (female)

2.All media enquiries should be directed to the Prison Service Press Office on 028 9052 0938. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.