State's first youth justice trade centre opens

The initiative aims to help young offenders skill up for work after custody. Leigh Mabin reports.

People standing in line for a photo. People standing in line for a photo.
Image: Candice Nielson, ED, Youth Justice, Kevin Prowse, Assistant Manager Cobham, YJC, Jayne Marchant, Centre Manager, Prue Car, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Skills, Denise Hillman, Principal, Craig Redfern, Director of Educational Leadership, Beck Rigby, Deputy Principal, and Murat Dizdar, Secretary, Department of Education at the opening of the new state-of-the-art trade centre at Cobham Youth Justice Centre.

In a first for NSW, the Cobham Youth Justice Centre in Werrington has unveiled a state-of-the-art trade centre where young inmates can start rebuilding their lives.

The new centre provides Cobham’s low-risk young people in custody the chance to access on-site trade training for the skills they need to secure jobs when rejoining the community.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Skills Prue Car officially opened the trade centre last week in front of a large audience, following an Acknowledgement to Country and Cleansing Ceremony led by young people and staff from the centre.

As an eager group of young people had their first experience in the new centre, Ms Car told everyone how pleased she was to open NSW’s first trade centre inside Cobham Youth Justice Centre.

“This centre will allow young people in custody to learn and practice valuable new skills, which they can take with them when they re-enter the community”, she said.

“It is so important to give young people a sense of hope and purpose through education with practical skills they can take out and use to pursue rewarding work.”

The innovative trade centre features an outdoor workspace and an on-site classroom, creating an authentic learning experience for young people about vehicle detailing and basic automotive servicing, including how to change a tyre and maintain gurneys and blower vacs.

Central to the training will also be the key employability skills of communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

As the state-of-the-art centre boasts the latest sustainable technology, young people will also learn about water preservation and recycling and the importance of solar panels as a source of electricity to run the workspace.

The project has been funded by the Department of Communities and Justice in partnership with the NSW Department of Education.

It comes after a successful ‘Try a Trade’ day event that enabled young people in the centre to try their hand and hear from industry experts on trades such as plumbing, mechanics, bricklaying, and carpentry.

Three young people walking in a line. One is carrying a smoking bark container and another is carrying tapping sticks Three young people walking in a line. One is carrying a smoking bark container and another is carrying tapping sticks
Image: Cobham Youth Justice Centre staff and young people perform the cleansing ceremony at the Learning Circle outside the new trade centre.
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