On 28 October, the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre (BWCC) hosted a graduation ceremony for 13 prisoners who received Certificate II and III qualifications in hairdressing.

The course has assisted in turning the lives of many women around since its commencement in 2012 in partnership with Registered Training Organisation, Matters in Gray (MIG).

“The hairdressing community are accepting and willing to give people a second chance and this is what makes the program so powerful. The students have the very real opportunity to work in hairdressing upon release and build a life away from crime,” says MIG Director, Anthony Gray.

BWCC General Manager, Kate Holman, is enthusiastic about the success of the program.

“Since 2012 when we started the program, I can recall perhaps only one student having returned to the centre. Of all the classes that have graduated, we have at least eight to 10 women working in the community as qualified hairdressers post-release,” she says.

The program has many benefits for the students, who can often be victims of domestic violence and homelessness.

“It’s amazing to see the change in the women when they do the course. It’s not just learning the technical skills of being a hairdresser and cutting or dying hair, it’s teaching them life skills and communication skills,” says Kate.

“You can see the behaviour of the women become far more pro-social and more engaging. They become far more developed and communicative, I think, than they would if they had not done the course.”

“The joy for us is in seeing a passion for the trade ignited in the students we train that is then coupled with a great sense of accomplishment at what is for many, one of the most difficult periods in their lives. We wish all the graduates the very best for the future,” says Anthony.

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