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An exciting partnership between TAFE NSW and The Department of Communities and Justice is providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the skills and confidence to apply for a career with Corrective Services NSW.
The Department of Communities and Justice Aboriginal Pre-Employment Program (DCJAPEP) offers a Certificate II in Community Services at TAFE NSW as a pathway to employment for Aboriginal correctional officers.
Michael Geia, HR Advisor of Aboriginal Employment at the Department of Communities and Justice said thirteen DCJAPEP graduates have gained employment with the department since the program began in 2017.
“DCJAPEP aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a better understanding of the rewards and challenges of working as a correctional officer,” Mr Geia said.
“Corrective Services NSW is dedicated to employing and training Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure we reflect the diversity of the inmate population and that security practices and procedures are culturally aware and responsive.”
Carol-Ann Flanagan, TAFE NSW Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator said TAFE NSW customised the training program to focus on bridging skills gaps to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more competitive in the recruitment process.
"The program provides Indigenous student support, theoretical coursework and practical activities including site visits to correctional centres and the Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy," Ms Flanagan said.
“It’s pleasing to know that a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have taken a leap towards an exciting and meaningful career – an opportunity that would not have been possible without the DCJAPEP.”
Proud Torres Strait Islander woman Peggy Gibuma completed The Department of Communities and Justice Aboriginal Pre-Employment Program in 2019, and is now employed as a correctional officer at Mary Wade Correctional Centre in Western Sydney.
Ms Gibuma said she hopes to use her new role to help reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison and to support inmate rehabilitation during their time in custody.
“The over-representation of Indigenous people in prison is an issue I have always been interested in addressing, and DCJAPEP gave me the opportunity and skills to help my mob in a direct way,” she said.
“My favourite part of my role as a correctional officer is getting to know the individual inmates story, and letting them know there is always hope.”
Ms Gibuma is now studying for a Certificate II in TAFE NSW’s Corrections Aboriginal Mentee Program, which provides Aboriginal CSNSW staff members with the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and career pathways through a mentee program.
To find out more about the program, email the Department of Communities & Justice at DCJAPEP@justice.nsw.gov.au.
Media contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211