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​Construction skills help offenders pave a road to rehabilitation

Friday, 12 May 2017

Offenders convicted of domestic violence and driving offences are gaining qualifications that will make them more productive members of the community, while also participating in programs that address their negative behaviour.

Eight residents from the Balund-a Program at Tabulam, in far north-east NSW, will today graduate with a Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations helping pave the way for careers in industry. 

Balund-a Program Manager Lisa O’Brien said the program was run on site by Team Training, which delivers nationally accredited industry-specific training.

“Team Training has been working with Balund-a to provide training and employment opportunities for residents for the past 12 months,” Ms O’Brien said.

“This year they began delivering their training on site with fantastic results – the engagement and retention of the residents in the course has greatly increased.

“I’m very proud of the offenders who gained their certificates today. This new skill set will help them gain jobs and steer their life in the right direction.”

The Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations is the industry standard for those who work as mobile plant operators. 

By completing the course, the offenders are qualified to operate a range of equipment including excavators, loaders, dozers, graders and rollers, as well as developing a range of skills related to earthworks, road construction and general civil works.

Resident ‘Richard K’ received his certificate today and said he was excited about his job prospects and positive about his future.

“Civil relit the candle to get back into the civil construction industry and that’s what I want to do with my life,” Richard said.

“It’s most blokes dream to play around on machines all day and now I can do it every day.” 

Team Training General Manager Jeff Green said the partnership between them and TAFE allowed for this hands-on type of direct training.

“We have seen great success with persons gaining employment with their new skills,” Mr Green said.

The Balund-a Program addresses specific areas of risk to help offenders improve their life skills and reintegrate into the community. The course includes cognitive based programs, drug and alcohol, anger management, education and employability, domestic violence, parenting skills and living skills. 

The property is situated on 534 hectares and also operates as a farming and beef cattle property giving the residents the opportunity to develop agricultural skills.