Since becoming the Governor of HMP Dartmoor in January 2015, Mrs Bridie Oakes-Richards has actively supported onsite learning for staff.
The courses for HMP Dartmoor staff and people from the local community have been funded by Unionlearn via the Union Learning Fund and provided by POA Learning, the professional trade union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers.
The learning opportunities mean that staff are armed effectively to deal with the most challenging of offenders, making society safer in the long term.
One third of offenders within HMP Dartmoor have declared learning needs. Therefore, the Governor requested that POA Learning provide ADHD awareness training and autism training to employees. To date, 70 staff have received ADHD training during 2015/16 with a further 100 staff identified for training in September. All operational staff will be receiving an online awareness session about autism during 2016 sourced from The Autistic Society.
Staff will then be confident in providing support to such offenders who have some learning disability both now and into the future.
Further examples include training in sign language and customer service for front of house roles.
Chris Aston MBE who teaches in the learning and skills department delivering training to offenders, took a Level 2 in dementia care followed by a Level 2 in mental health awareness via Leicester College distance learning. He said: “The courses were well presented and easy to follow. I would recommend a course to anyone, you are never too old to learn!”
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