Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 3 Hansard (22 March) . .
in 2016-17, with 95 operational lockdowns in the first half of 2017-18. The increase in young people in Bimberi during 2017 and higher staffing needs are certainly one factor that has influenced the number of lockdowns. As members would understand, the very low numbers of young people in Bimberi in 2015 and 2016 led to a reduced call on the use of casual staff. Understandably, some of those staff found other employment and were therefore not available to support the increased numbers of young people that we have seen since the second quarter of 2017.
To reduce the need for operational lockdowns, active recruitment processes for Bimberi have been ongoing. A comprehensive recruitment strategy is assisting Bimberi in recruiting suitable and qualified applicants for youth worker roles. The recruitment process includes a written application, psychometric assessment, comprehensive health screening and an interview. Following the comprehensive induction session, six new youth workers commenced at Bimberi in August 2017 and a further two in November. More recently, the directorate commissioned an extensive advertising campaign. An information session held in early March this year attracted strong interest, with 148 applications received from potential candidates. I am pleased to report that 12 new recruits commenced their seven-week induction program last week. I look forward to Bimberi welcoming new youth workers to these challenging but very rewarding roles.
While the report includes measures relating to safety and security, it also has a strong focus on education, programs and community engagement, because the core purpose of Bimberi is rehabilitation, providing young people with the supports and services they need to turn their lives around. Young people in detention at Bimberi are supported to maintain engagement in education, build and maintain family ties and develop the living skills they need to reintegrate successfully in the community. The Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre at Bimberi provides a range of education and vocational programs, including recognised certificate programs, tutoring and transitional support back into the community through an individualised and tailored approach. Since 2007, 169 young people have received nationally recognised qualifications through the education centre in a variety of areas such as construction, hospitality, business, horticulture and fitness, as well as year 10 and year 12 certificates.
I am passionate about ensuring that we have a youth justice system that is rehabilitative and provides opportunities for young people. I wish to thank all the people who work tirelessly to support some of our most vulnerable children and young people: the youth workers, teachers, health workers, management and many staff of non-government organisations that engage with the young people in Bimberi every week.
I look forward to receiving the report of the blueprint taskforce to guide the direction of our work for the next five years of the blueprint.
Ms Stephen-Smith presented the following paper:
Bimberi Youth Justice Centre—Bimberi Headline Indicators Report March 2018.
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