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Client: Department for Correctional Services

Location: Northfield, SA

Country: Kaurna

Budget: N/A

Completion: Ongoing



Sarah Paddick


SA Training Awards: Industry Collaboration Award 2018

The Adelaide Women’s Prison UTurn Construction Pathways program provides opportunities for incarcerated women to gain real skills and training in construction, and pathways into employment in the construction industry on their release.

The program began in 2016 as part of a planned Accommodation Upgrade at the Adelaide Women’s Prison where it was decided to utilise female prisoners as labourers on the construction team, working with Mossop Construction + Interiors and their Site Foreman Scott Charlton, and the Architect, Sarah Paddick of Totalspace Design (now part of Grieve Gillett Architects). A group of 10 women were selected after an application and interview process, to form the Infrastructure Team, along with a team of Correctional Services staff specifically assigned to the project. TAFE were engaged to provide the women with the Certificate 2 Construction training modules which ran concurrently with what was happening on site. The team all gained their White Card prior to coming to site and commenced working a full “construction industry day” on
the secure building site. Subcontractors were required to include a training element in their scope of works and utilise the Infrastructure work team wherever possible. The women all gained real experience in demolition, 1st and 2nd fix plumbing, concreting, 1st and 2nd fix carpentry, bricklaying, electrical, tiling and painting. Over their time in the program many of the team have gained their EQP Yellow card, Workzone Traffic Management Card, and First Aid Certificates, as well as completing other TAFE modules.

Fast forward 12 months, and the team have all completed their Cert 2 Construction and have had 12 months on site experience working with all the trades. Feedback from those who worked with the women has been incredibly positive.

Three of our team have now transitioned out into the community and have been given work placements in the Construction Industry. MC Labour is now a valued partner of the program, signing up two of the team to their books and providing them with a supported start back into employment. Techforce, Roadsafe and Royal Park Salvage are also part of the network being built up to provide a range of construction pathways for this unique group of women. These companies all see the benefit to the community in assisting ex-offenders in finding employment and getting their lives back on track, but also can see the potential in these hard working and motivated women who are all keen to take the opportunities they are offered.

A new group of 11 women have started on site, and some of the first group are moving into more complex roles and undertaking more work independently, as their skills increase. The intention is that over time the program will grow and the participants will be involved in more building projects both at the Women’s Prison and on other DCS sites.

If your company is interested in being involved in this exciting program as either a pathways employer, or a construction team contractor please contact either Scott or Sarah to discuss opportunities.

Watch Project Video Here:

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