26 Aug 2015
Engaging with the 6th Principle: Promoting inclusive labour markets and social inclusion in Paola, Malta

The sixth principle of the United Nations Global Compact calls for “the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation”. The Paola Local Council and partners are advancing a project to strengthen the employability of inmates in the Corradino Correctional Facility.

The project, based on three years of cross-sectoral research is called “Better Future: Promoting an Equal and Inclusive Market Social Inclusion” and was co-funded by the European Union (EU) through the European Social Fund.

This project aims to enhance employability and productivity of inmates in the Corradino Correctional Facility, by providing academic and skilled courses that prepare inmates for re-integration into the community and workforce after release. By increasing their academic and social skills through innovative courses and applied software, this project aims to contribute to the overall labour supply within the economy and improve social cohesion in Malta and Gozo.

Dr Malcolm Borg, Project Coordinator for the Council, says that the project is about re-integration into the community. While there are existing projects that focus on community perceptions on inmates for social cohesion, this programme worked to increase the employability of inmates to further build on social inclusion.

Paola Local Council led the project with local multi-sectoral stakeholders, namely, the Corradino Correctional Facility, the University of Malta and the Malta Council for Arts, Science and Technology, along with other research and industrial agencies.

The project is a part of the Paola Local Council’s REPAIR Action Plan, which was conceived in 2009 and launched in 2010. The four-year project commenced in 2011. The first stage included research on existing courses, market research and an examination of the needs of inmates and employers. This was followed by the development of courses tailored to inmates’ needs. This included beautician and sewing courses, professional social skills, training in scanning and archiving and developing tradesmen skills, such as tiling and plastering.

These courses also included work within the prison compound, such as renovation and restoration  work and conservation and redevelopment of the archives.

Participants were able to follow the full packages of courses being offered at MQF (Malta Qualification Framework) level 2, which is recognised throughout the EU. The target was to have 100 participants, which is 20 per cent of the inmate population. At the completion of the project, 80 participants were given certificates of completion.

The project also included training the trainer, whereby 20 lecturers completed a six-month training phase, with ongoing monitoring and evaluation processes. The research phase included a monitoring phase for the inmates’ progress upon release through interviews.

This is a model project of how local councils, in collaboration with cross-sectoral stakeholders, can play a leading role in urban research and innovation to advance the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.

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