Prisoner employment program win big

MTA (NT) was announced the winner in the Industry Collaboration category at the 60th Anniversary of the NT Training Awards, 29 August 2015.

MTA (NT), the peak Automotive Industry body in the Northern Territory, were announced the winners in the Industry Collaboration category at tonight’s NT Training awards held at the Convention Centre.  This year’s awards are quite significant and were bigger than normal due to it being the 60th anniversary celebration.

Indigenous Prisoner Employment Program

MTA (NT) in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services and the Centre for Appropriate Technology in Alice Springs ran an Indigenous Employment Program to rebuild and transform the lives of prisoners.  Prisoners are given a second chance at life through an education, training, skills development and employment through this program.  Sustainable employment is one of the most powerful ways of empowering someone to change and take control of their own destiny. 

“Indigenous people represent approximately 30% of the Territory population, but comprise 85% of the adult prison population”

MTA (NT) Executive Director, Peter Donovan tonight congratulated Corrections Minister, John Elferink, on his courage and vision to drive the “Sentence to a Job” program.  Tonight’s win by MTA (NT) proves that with the right support and a willingness by the prisoner to turn their life around anything is possible.

Mr Donovan said “that to expect the cycle of incarceration and re-incarceration to break without some investment by all stakeholders is unlikely.”

Studies have effectively shown that if you train, educate, integrate work experience and employment opportunities for prisoners the rate of recidivism is significantly reduced.  At present the recidivism rate of NT prisoners is 54%, whilst the rate for prisoners who have participated in the ‘Sentenced to a Job’ program is significantly lower at 18%. 

A number of prisoners involved in the MTA (NT) Indigenous Employment Program have now been in full time work for nearly six months. 

A couple of the prisoners have now been offered Cert III Apprenticeships as a direct result of this program.

To quote one prisoner on the program “I have never been given an opportunity like this before and I intend to make sure that I make the most of it because as an elder in my community I want the young people to see that it is never too late to learn or to adjust the way you do things.  I want go to the next level in my training and hopefully gain an apprenticeship fixing cars.  Without reliable transport, life on a community can be hard and it can then lead to people being bored and doing the wrong thing... which is how I ended up in jail.  “He then added it is a pity I had to be in jail for this opportunity to happen”.