Federation TAFE course gives people in prison a brighter future

Corrections welding
Federation TAFE is giving prisoners a brighter future with the introduction of an advanced welding course.

Federation TAFE, in partnership with Corrections Victoria and Weld Australia, is giving prisoners at HM Prison Langi Kal Kal a brighter future and better chance of walking into an in-demand job with the introduction of an advanced welding course at the prison’s vocational education and training (VET) Centre of Excellence.

The vocational program offers practical rehabilitation by training selected people in prison in Fusion Welding to ISO 9606 certification standard, the international benchmark, with the help of state-of-the-art augmented reality (AR) welding simulators.

The intensive 14-week course complements the existing metal fabrication industry at the prison, expanding students’ skills as they work across both physical and virtual environments in the traditional welding workshop and in the AR training room.

Federation TAFE teacher, Andrew Glisson says, “The students all demonstrate potential and are showing excellent aptitude and skill development as we move forward through the course.”

“It has been enjoyable watching the students have ‘light bulb’ moments in their own personal skill development. It has also been rewarding to see a student develop confidence when they discover they are capable of more than they thought.”

Participating students are also linked with prospective industry employers and support services, giving them the best opportunity of gaining meaningful employment once they leave prison, increasing their likelihood of successful reintegration, and reducing the risk of reoffending.

Damien*, a student undertaking the program says,“I wanted to take part in this course to not only further my knowledge and experience of welding but to be able to give myself the ability to provide a positive, reliable, and sustainable future for my family. When I am released I am keen to find as much work as possible in the engineering trade working in the railways, or similar areas that require good welders. I don’t see my life revolving around prison and I want to have real work opportunities in the community when I’m released.”

With an acute global shortage of welders and the import of cheap fabricated steel negatively impacting local metal fabrication companies, there is the risk of not being able to maintain the industrial output needed to deliver key infrastructure projects as outlined by the Australian Government Renewable Energy Targets. The Federation TAFE course addresses this critical need while also giving people in prison a tangible qualification and the best chance for sustained success in the outside world.

*Name changed for privacy.

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