The Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO), which assists offenders to gain education, training, employment and resettlement support, was among the organisations recognised at the prestigious IITD National Training Awards.
The awards, which promote and honour excellence, professionalism and outstanding training in the area of learning and development, recognised the efforts of prisoners and prison-based agencies by awarding them the title of ‘Best Not for Profit Collaboration or Partnership’.
The Cork prison based Community Coaching programme, led by the Resettlement Service of IASIO, in partnership with the Irish Prison Service, the Cork Education and Training Board prison school and the Cork Sports Partnership, gave prisoners an opportunity to gain sports related certification, educational certificates, sports coaching skills, tangible links to community-based sports organisations, enabling them to develop a focus for further study or work.
For the first time, external community based sports organisations delivered accredited modules within the prison, giving participants the opportunity to link with these organisations upon release. It also gave participants the opportunity to demonstrate their positive, changed behaviours and course achievements to friends and families who attended graduation ceremonies at the prison.
Commenting on the award-winning programme, Des Holton of IASIO said: “Employers are seeking candidates with positive ‘can do’ attitudes, who work well with others and can achieve personal goals. This programme produces exactly those kind of people, the proof being some are already working while others have taken up further study options.”
Local employers supported the programme with one hotel manager providing employment for a newly released graduate, while another hotel provided a graduate with work experience. Employers have visited the prison to speak to prisoners about the world of work and to provide advice on the expectations of employers.
Since winning the award, IASIO has been contacted by local and national employers eager to support the programme. For more on how your business can benefit from the recruitment services of IASIO visit www.iasio.ie.
Pictured above collecting the award was Pat Lawson, Governor, Cork Prison; Edel Cunningham, ETB, Cork Prison; Officer Paul Ryan; EibhlÁn Davitt, Dillons Cross Project; Jenna Coakley, ISM Officer, Cork Prison; Colm Carey, IASIO; Paddy Richardson, CEO, IASIO; John G. Brennan, Assistant Governor, Cork Prison; Officer Peter O’ Brien; Des Holton, IASIO Linkage Service