Corrections Adult Learning Programmes

The Mission’s innovative literacy and numeracy programme is delivered to prisoners at Otago Corrections Facility:

As well classroom teaching, our tutors work alongside learners in their existing prison industry programmes (dairy farming, engineering, carpentry, kitchen, grounds maintenance etc.)

Tutors use content from these programmes as a context to teach literacy and numeracy. For example, our tutors might use the names of farming equipment on the prison dairy farm to develop literacy skills. This makes the content of the programme relevant and interesting for the learners.

Every learner receives 100 hours of high-quality, contextualised learning, to ensure better literacy and numeracy skills, readiness for further industry programmes in prison, and better educational and employment outcomes on release.

Intensive Literacy and Numeracy:

This is an intensive programme to increase the literacy and numeracy skills in high-needs prisoners. This will enable them to transition to further educational opportunities as many further educational programmes require a minimum literacy and numeracy level. There is strong evidence to show that participating in further educational opportunities improves prisoner reintegration to their communities, gain improved employment and reduce further offending. The programme works with small groups of learners, no more than 6 in a group, providing strongly contextualised literacy and numeracy that is directly linked to either their involvement in existing prison work and training programmes or prison work and programmes they are planning to be involved in – this may include building, engineering, kitchen work, dairy farm, cleaning. The programme uses a range of tools to engage learners including Virtual Reality (VR), tablets, mind mapping and group activities, focussing on each leaners existing strengths to scaffold their learning.

Foundation Skills:

This programme is broken into two parts, Foundation Skills level 1 and Foundation Skills level 2. It is intended that level 1 completion will offer opportunity for learners to scaffold to level 2. The programme aims to provide core skills and core capabilities to prisoner learners looking to move into prison employment programmes to springboard onto higher learning or getting close to release and then move into employment on release – these core skills  include managing personal wellness, problem solving, making informed decisions relating to personal income, managing personal finances; strategies to deal with stress; communication and working in a team, communicating information; preparing for gaining employment; accommodation; and health and safety in the workplace. Foundation Skills engages prisoner learners in learning where they bring their previous experiences and knowledges so they see the value of this and experience education as a positive and successful experience.


NCEA level 2 is seen as an important qualification in NZ, including prisoner learners. The NCEA level 2 with a Vocational Pathway in Horticulture offers the opportunity for prison learners to gain this qualification in a highly practical hands-on learning way. Otago Corrections Facility has extensive grounds and a horticulture department that offers prisoners horticulture learning while they maintain the prison grounds. Using this practical experience and readily available resource, we are able to offer NCEA level 2 qualification building on prisoner learners previous learning and experience with horticulture in the prison and with practical real-time experiences using horticulture. This will enable learners to enter the horticultural industry and possibly other land based employment at entry level on release.