Prisoners to undergo training programmes in retroffiting

Skills course will be available in Midlands and Wheatfield prisons

Prisoners close to release are to undergo training programmes in retrofitting before completing their sentence, the Departments of Higher Education and Justice have announced.

The programme – the Retrofit Skills Course QQI Level 5 component award – will be made available in Midlands and Wheatfield prisons and aims to provide a skill set to gain well-paid employment in the area of retrofitting.

Laois Offaly Education and Training Board’s National Construction Centre, Mount Lucas worked closely with the Irish Prison Service to make the course available.

The first of the pilot programmes will start on Monday in Midlands Prison.


“We know we need to do more to improve education and upskilling opportunities for people in custody to support their rehabilitation and employment post-release,” Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said.

The courses would provide “the skills they need to get sustainable jobs on release, while also creating skilled workers to help deliver on our targets under Housing for All”.

“Education and training allow people to see alternative choices, a different future and to move away from criminality. We can’t underestimate the importance of taking an employment focused view of education in our prisons,” Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne said.

The initiative is run by the Prison Education Taskforce, which aims to ensure greater alignment between prison education and the tertiary education system to support prisoners in benefiting from education and training opportunities while in custody to support their rehabilitation and access to employment post-release.

The taskforce is chaired by Mr Harris and Mr Browne and is made up of agencies such as the Irish Prison Service, SOLAS, the Probation Service, the Education and Training Boards.

This year the taskforce will also be working to progress the roll-out of pilot apprenticeships in prison. The commis-chef apprenticeship and the painting and decorating apprenticeship will be the first apprenticeships to be piloted in prisons.

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Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times