Training certificates awarded to 1,000 Magilligan prisoners

Pictured: Magilligan Prison Governor Richard Taylor presents certificates for education and training skills to prisoners
Pictured: Magilligan Prison Governor Richard Taylor presents certificates for education and training skills to prisoners

A total of 1,000 education and training qualifications have been awarded to prisoners at Magilligan Prison in the past year.

Last week, forty prisoners were awarded 100 certificates for success in various courses at Magilligan Prison, delivered by the North West Regional College (NWRC).

The prisoners were supported to gain qualifications and training in essential skills, ICT, carpentry and joinery, furniture making, fabrication and welding, painting and decorating, plastering, horticulture, art and design, hospitality, and barbering during their time in custody.

Ronnie Armour, head of the NI Prison Service, and Leo Murphy, principal and CEO of NWRC, attended to present the certificates.

Speaking at the ceremony at Magilligan Prison, Mr Armour said: “I want to congratulate everyone receiving an award. Over 50 per cent of people who come into prison have no formal qualifications.

“The partnership we have established with the North West Regional College allows us to support prisoners in a wide range of courses which are aimed at enhancing their learning and skills and ultimately giving them the tools to move away from offending behaviour.

“By challenging people and supporting them to change in new and innovative ways we are helping to create a safer Northern Ireland where people respect the law and each other.”

Mr Murphy added: “I want to congratulate all the prisoners who have collected awards, diplomas or certificates following completion of courses at Magilligan.

“Our curriculum provision at the prison has increased significantly in recent years, both in terms of the range and the level of course being offered. This has led to an unprecedented rise in the number of prisoners undertaking and successfully completing accredited courses. In the past year alone, over 1,000 qualifications have been awarded to prisoners, many of whom believed that it was not possible to achieve so much in such a short period of time.”

Richard Taylor, governor at Magilligan Prison, said: “I am delighted that, for the first time, prisoners’ family members were here at the ceremony to share in this success.

“We’re also piloting a scheme where fathers can be directly involved in supporting their child’s education, which is another step on the road to supporting dads to take a better path when they are released.”

Dr Damian O’Kane, head of education for NWRC at Magilligan, said: “We look forward to building upon the current success, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Prison Service, by introducing new programmes of study which are closely aligned to Northern Ireland’s key skill shortage areas.”