Good hair day at Wacol

WITH STYLE: TAFE hairdressing teacher Rachael celebrates with prisoners at the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre’s completion of a Certificate II in Hairdressing.
WITH STYLE: TAFE hairdressing teacher Rachael celebrates with prisoners at the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre’s completion of a Certificate II in Hairdressing. Rob Williams

WHEN correctional centre inmates get their hair cut, you might expect it to be done quickly and simply - basic, no-frills styling.

But not so for the prisoners at Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre.

They now have their own hair salon, Just Styles, within the walls of the Wacol facility.

The salon was established as part of a vocational education and training course that allows prisoners to obtain a Certificate II in hairdressing.

The 10-month course, run by a qualified TAFE hairdressing teacher, instructs inmates in skills from shampooing to colouring and blow-drying.

The 12 women who started the course completed it successfully.

With proud smiles, they accepted their certificates at a ceremony at the centre on Tuesday.

The training provided 29-year-old inmate Michelle with new job skills and a brighter outlook for the future.

Before the course, Michelle said, she had few job prospects and was apprehensive about her potential release in 2015.

But with plans to now build on her training, she said she felt much more confident about obtaining work once her sentence was completed.

"The great thing about this program is that it's career-building," she said.

"And that's what most of us plan to do - build on it and work towards the Certificate III."

It was the first time any correctional centre in Queensland had offered the course, but based on its success, Wacol centre general manager Kate Holman said it would not be the last.

Ms Holman said the centre planned to reintroduce the Certificate II in Hairdressing as well as offering Certificate III training.

"The absolute enthusiasm and engagement participants had in this course was unlike anything I have ever seen," she said.

"We even had student prisoners turn up to practise on days where they didn't have training."

She said the inspiration behind the course was to create pathways for prisoners to become successful citizens in the community.

"We sat down and said 'what can we do to give women here real work ready skills as well as flexible employment options?'" she said. "And this course ticked all the boxes."

Ms Holman said programs and services like the hairdressing course were at the heart of rehabilitation.

As a testament to the course's success, other women's correctional facilities in Queensland have expressed an interest in implementing it.



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