Weld Australia announced that the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Corrections Victoria, has won the inaugural Weld Australia President’s Award for an Outstanding Social Project in Welding.
Presented last night at Weld Australia’s 2023 Welding Excellence Awards, the Award recognises Corrections Victoria’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) Centre of Excellence, which delivers welder training in line with ISO 9606 certification and includes employment network events and employment support.
According to Weld Australia’s CEO, Geoff Crittenden, “The 2023 Welding Excellence Awards highlight the outstanding achievements of both companies and individuals who are pushing boundaries in welding quality, safety, and innovation.”
“The inaugural Weld Australia President’s Award for Outstanding Social Project in Welding recognises the unique program of welder training initiated by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Corrections Victoria. It acknowledges the outstanding dedication that Corrections Victoria staff have demonstrated in establishing systems to help people leaving prison find gainful employment as welders.”
“Corrections Victoria has shown exceptional commitment in time and resources and set an example for other states, jurisdictions and nations.”
According to Sarah Miles, deputy commissioner, Corrections Victoria, “The expansion of the Centre of Excellence model to include welding is a fantastic opportunity to link what people are learning in the classroom to skills and on the job experience they are gaining in metal fabrication industries in prison and employment support and jobs as they prepare to leave prison.”
In 2022, Corrections Victoria expanded its VET Centre of Excellence model to deliver Fusion Welding to ISO 9606 certification standard to complement their Metal Fabrication industry at HM Prison Langi Kal Kal. Federation University delivers the training program with the support of Weld Australia and on-site prison industry staff. This model is now being expanded to a further seven prison locations over the coming months.
As part of the program, augmented reality training was introduced to expand the welding skills of the students in prison to meet international standards. A welding workshop sits alongside the augmented reality training room so that participants can work on projects to use and practice their welding skills in the physical as well as virtual environments.
To participate in the program, people in prison are invited to submit an Expression of Interest and then selected through an interview process. Up to twelve students can be accommodated in the intensive program.
The VET Centre of Excellence model links participating students in prison with prospective employers and pre- and post-release employment support. These connections provide people in prison with sustainable pathways to employment and reintegration support following their release from prison.
Weld Australia’s Excellence Awards are the most prestigious event on the welding industry calendar. The Awards showcase and celebrate the world-class work being undertaken by local welders, fabricators and industry educators.