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Corrections graduates readying themselves for a life behind the wire

A Te Wānanga o Aotearoa pilot programme steering tauira towards a career in Corrections has delivered its first graduates. 

Baljinder Virk (28) and Tusipa Pupa (25) started Te Taumata Raukura Certificate in Career Preparation (Corrections) last year and have secured their place at the Corrections training college at Rimutaka Prison in Wellington.

Four more TWoA tauira are on standby to complete the college’s recruitment test.

The training college provides accommodation to support new frontline staff and is operated by Corrections and serviced by the Rimutaka inmates who are also learning on the job to achieve their National Certificate in Hospitality. 

Being born and raised in India, Baljinder didn’t know anything about corrections before coming to TWoA. Originally he wanted to go into police preparation but because the course was full, he decided to give the Corrections development pathway a try.

“I had no idea what to expect but I was interested in helping people. I found it to be nothing like how they show it on TV.  This job is more like a proper career, there’s lots of variety and you can move around.”

Kaiako Peter Veukiso says Baljinder asked the right questions about the role to get him ahead and his customer service experience and ability to apply himself made him one of his top tauira.

“Since the beginning Bal and Tusipa were new to the Corrections scene but in time they came to understand what the organisation had to offer them,” Peter says.

Tusipa’s background was also in customer service and his goal was always to become a Corrections officer. His love of rugby nearly got in the way however, when he injured his leg last year. But as it turned out, he achieved his best time ever in the physical assessment.

The 36-week course was developed by the Department of Corrections in collaboration with TWoA to provide an understanding about the mahi, the skills required and the recruitment process involved to work in one of 19 correctional facilities nationwide.

Corrections Principal recruitment adviser Bridget Cooksley says it was recognised that the course would only succeed if students came out with the appropriate skills and experiences to prepare them for the roles and for the recruitment process.

“From our perspective we are very happy to see this programme being delivered and for graduates of the course now graduating as Corrections Officers. That is great news. 

“We value the strong relationship with the Wānanga which goes back to when Carl Bothma, HR Manager Northern Region and James Hamiora, Manager Māori Services Northern Region were involved in the joint design and development of this course. 

Find out more about our Certificate in Career Preparation – Corrections.

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Published On: 10 May, 2016

Article By: Carly Tawhiao



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