Paul Wimmer, Chris Burgess and Geoff Walker.
Paul Wimmer, Chris Burgess and Geoff Walker.
24 June 2013

Six Palen Creek Correctional Centre inmates will graduate with agricultural qualifications this month, thanks to a partnership between The University of Queensland and Queensland Corrective Services.

The Certificate III in Agriculture graduation is part of an ongoing program designed to improve the work prospects of inmates.

Palen Creek Correctional Centre Deputy General Manager Chris Burgess said having trainers working on site with prisoners completing their certificates was a huge step forward for the program.

This has been possible since two custodial officers were awarded qualifications through the UQ Gatton Vocational Education Centre last week, ensuring training can be delivered and assessed at Palen Creek.

Custodial Officer Geoff Walker earned a Diploma in Agriculture through UQ Gatton after working at Palen Creek for 17 years, and Custodial Officer Paul Wimmer has gained a Certificate III in Agriculture.

Mr Burgess said Mr Walker and Mr Wimmer would assist UQ Gatton Vocational Education Centre by providing daily instruction to prisoners assisting in competencies assessments.

The centre will deliver the formal, practical and theoretical modules and conduct all examinations and accreditation assessments.

These competencies include animal husbandry and management (cattle and horses), tractor driving, weed identification and eradication.

“It means more prisoners will be able to complete certificate training before they are released into the community,” he said.

“If prisoners are able to get a job when they re-enter the community they are less likely to re-offend.”

Mr Walker said he found the course extremely useful.

“It will definitely assist us in our day-to-day work and in training the prisoners to achieve a Certificate lll in agriculture,” he said.

“We will also be able to incorporate the training of prisoners with managing the farms so they are gaining relevant hands-on experience,” he said.

Both officers received Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) that acknowledged their previous work experience.

Mr Wimmer said he was delighted to be recognised for work he had already learnt on the job.

“We’ll assess the prisoners on the practical components involving animal husbandry, tractor driving and weed identification and eradication, and UQ will deliver the theoretical side,” he said.

Last year nine prisoners from Palen Creek Correctional Centre graduated with a Certificate III in Agriculture.

One has gone on to work as a stockman while others have found related employment due to their qualifications.

For more information on rural training visit their website.

Media: Erin Pearl, UQ Gatton,, 5460 1229.