The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has employed 2,954 unemployed youth in the past year through learnership and internship programmes.
This month (as of 1 March 2013), 654 learners were absorbed into permanent positions. Last year, on 1 March 2012, 943 learners were appointed into permanent positions. In August 2012 a group of 1,012 learners completed the Correctional Services Learnership Programme, and 1,006 of them were appointed on contract pending their absorption into permanent positions. At the start of this month (1 March 2013), 654 of them were appointed into permanent positions. The remainder will be retained on contract, and absorbed into permanent positions as positions become available.
Further, DCS currently also has 1,005 interns on the Public Service Internship Programme aimed at providing graduates with experience to enhance their job prospects.
In addition, inmates are being rehabilitated to read, study and work. As a result, several inmates have been equipped with various skills including baking, carpentry and bricklaying. From 1 April 2013, all inmates shall have a certificate in one hand and a skill in the other upon being released from correctional centres.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said education is one of the top priorities of our government. “Education is one of the top priorities of our government. The youth of our country must carry on with the task of nation building, and creating a prosperous South Africa. We are in need of dedicated, patriotic and action-oriented young intellectuals, who will contribute to building the kind of prosperous, and successful, society we envisage. This is a society without poverty, and underdevelopment, where men, and women, girls and boys live in dignity, with access to opportunities to make their lives better and meaningful.
“As part of the Department of Correctional Services Learnership Programme, 1,597 youth have gone through theoretical, and practical, training for one year in different aspects of correctional services, first at Kroonstad and Zonderwater Training Colleges and then at the various correctional centres throughout the country.
“The Learnership Programme, one of the pillars of the National Skills Development Strategy, is not only to generate skills but also to alleviate poverty and unemployment, keep our youth away from crime and contribute to the development of our young people. The Corrections Service Learnership has been specially designed to develop the capacity of young learners with an interest, and aspiration, to join the Department of Correctional Services. The Learnership Programme is aimed at creating a pool from which DCS draws its entry level employees. This Learnership is aimed at giving unemployed youth the skills, knowledge and experience to operate in the correctional centre environment. But the Learnership is aimed not only at creating a pool of candidates from which we can recruit for entry level, but is a means for DCS to contribute to the mandate of government to provide training, and development, opportunities to the youth of this country.
“The work that we do, as Correctional Officials, calls for a special calibre of person. Not everyone has the personality traits necessary for success in the field of corrections. Correctional Officials must have several personality traits, in order to deal with inmates and handle the stress of long hours in an institutional environment. One of the most important traits for a successful Correctional Official is tact, or sensitivity, in knowing how to interact with others,” Minister Ndebele said.