A UNIQUE award which will upskill staff at HMP Dovegate has been launched by Staffordshire University.
The new Foundation Degree in Offender Management is the result of close partnership working between Staffordshire University and the Uttoxeter prison, which is run by Serco Home Affairs.
The new course – believed to be the first of its kind - combines academic and work-based learning designed specifically to help prison staff with their mission to run a secure service where prisoners are encouraged to live useful, law abiding lives after custody.
Following a rigorous selection process, 15 employees ranging from prison custody officers (PCOs) to an assistant director, have enrolled on the award which will be delivered by Stafford College.
Staffordshire University Law School Director, Ian King said: “The Law School has an excellent reputation for providing high quality and relevant education and we were delighted to be involved with Stafford College in tailoring this unique award to fit the needs of HMP Dovegate and staff working in the custodial care sector.
“We welcome the first cohort of students to the University and to a study experience which will enable them to develop both personally and professionally and impact positively in their roles.”
Cathy Gilbert, the University’s Director of Sales, added: “The partnership with HMP Dovegate is a great example of two organisations taking time to develop a truly value-based relationship where both parties have a fundamental understanding of each other’s business goals.
“This unique approach has allowed us to explore various joint opportunities including forensic awareness training for prison staff and meaningful placements for our students. Such links with a commercial organisation demonstrates the University’s ability to understand the issues facing businesses, and to provide solutions that are sustainable in the long term.”
HMP Dovegate Deputy Director Trish Mitchell said prison staff enrolled on the new higher education award were very enthusiastic.
She said: “We are thrilled – it’s the culmination of a lot of work and a number of projects with Staffordshire University. Investment in our staff is extremely important as are the opportunities to upskill staff in certain specialisms.”
“We had in excess of 70 applications for the new award and anticipate a similar level of interest for future cohorts as this is recognised as a means of progression through the profession.”
Trish Mitchell also paid tribute to Dovegate’s former director Wyn Jones for his vision and role in developing the award which she says is of huge potential value across the custodial care sector.
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