News Release HAMILTON, Bermuda “We are thrilled to embark on this innovative partnership with the Bermuda Technical Institute Association,” said Minister of National Security, Michael Weeks, about a partnership offering inmates a chance to gain Information Technology (IT) qualifications.

The Department of Corrections and the Bermuda Technical Institute Association (BTIA) have joined forces to revolutionise rehabilitation by introducing the Cisco Networking Academy (CNA) into three Correctional Facilities – Westgate Correctional Facility, The Farm Correctional Facility, and The Co-Educational Correctional Facility, which includes The Right Living House.

CNA provides a skills-to-jobs curriculum that delivers technology education by fostering collaborations between the public and private sectors and implementing workforce development initiatives.

In a thriving partnership, the BTIA, a recognised affiliate of CNA, is focused on providing comprehensive online Cisco Networking Academy certified courses to the Bermuda Correctional Facilities without any cost to the Government.

This ground-breaking initiative seeks to empower inmates with the essential skills and knowledge for successful reintegration into society.

Commenting on the collaboration, BTIA chairman Rick Richardson said: “In partnering with the Ministry and, more specifically, the Corrections staff, we can help to fulfil the ultimate goal of providing significant educational opportunities to those who are incarcerated.

“As technologies are changing at breakneck speed, the access to the international courses offered by CNA will provide opportunities and realistic avenues for those persons to continue to progress when they return to society.

“Our association has spent several years advocating for the broad teaching of the trades and, by extension, the STEM curriculum to improve the lives of our young men in particular.

“After several strategic planning sessions with eager corrections personnel and the Commissioner, and with input from those incarcerated, we thought the Cisco online international programme could be one of the components in an enhanced educational programme within the prisons.”

“We are pleased to have visionary educator Iman Gibbons, a STEM advocate based in Bermuda, guiding and supporting this curriculum.

“Mr Gibbons brings a diverse skillset that includes data science in biological systems, bilingual communications, and critical computational thinking.”

The programme, which commenced in September, began with an introductory course covering CNA basics and computer fundamentals.

These self-paced courses enable individualised planning, fostering an optimal learning environment for incarcerated individuals.

Following the introductory module, students can tailor their educational journey, exploring diverse avenues within the Academy, including coding and programming.

Minister Weeks expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration by adding: “Education is a powerful tool for rehabilitation and reintegration.

“By offering Cisco Networking Academy courses, we are equipping inmates with skills that can significantly enhance their prospects of becoming productive citizens upon re-entry to society.

“The Department of Corrections and the BTIA are confident that this collaborative effort will reduce recidivism rates and foster positive change within Bermuda’s correctional system.”

Top Feature Photo: Curriculum instructor Iman Gibbons (left), gives guidance to two Westgate inmates, alongside BTIA chairman Rick Richardson (far right).