Tradies called to apply for six vocational officer jobs at Bunbury Prison

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
Bunbury Regional Prison vocational support officer Colin is encouraging South West tradies to apply for six new jobs teaching prisoners life skills.
Camera IconBunbury Regional Prison vocational support officer Colin is encouraging South West tradies to apply for six new jobs teaching prisoners life skills.

South West tradies are being encouraged to apply for a number of vocational jobs at Bunbury Regional Prison to help teach prisoners valuable life skills.

As part of a Statewide initiative which saw 125 additional vocational support officer roles created throughout WA, six have been made available locally.

And for cabinet and furniture-maker Colin – who stepped into a VSO role two years ago after 23 years of making bespoke furniture for a Margaret River gallery – it has been a rewarding experience.

“In the prison cabinet and woodwork shop I work with a team of prisoners who manufacture furniture for the prison system, other government agencies and not-for-profit organisations,” he said.

“My role is to teach employability skills, how to work as a team, and the skills associated with the woodworking/cabinet-making manufacturing industry.”

The prisoners take pride in their work and it increases their confidence and motivation to learn more.

Colin

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Colin and his team of close-to-release Section 95 prisoners have been involved in constructing boardwalks for bike and walk trails and most recently, replaced fencing and refurbished the historic Nannup cemetery.

Colin said they got a sense of pride from the work they had done in the community, which he said “made the towns a little brighter”.

He said it was “rewarding work” and encouraged other tradies to give it a go.

You’re a role model, you’re a teacher and at times you’re also a mentor and a support for the prisoners. They look up to you and gain satisfaction from learning and a good day’s work.

Colin

“Sometimes people – especially those in their 40s and 50s – can get tired of their trades and this is a way for them to use their talents to help people.”

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