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Women Lead the Charge at Parklea Graduation

Parklea Correctional Centre has today welcomed 23 trainee correctional officers at a swearing-in ceremony.

Traditionally a male-dominated industry, this is the first time women have outnumbered men completing the prison’s 10-week Initial Training Course, with 13 women and 10 men making up this graduating class.

The new officers range in age from 20 to 67 and have diverse employment histories, including real estate, IT, construction, warehousing and aged care. Some were also students.

Parklea Correctional Centre Governor Paul Baker said the event was an exciting day for the new recruits, who had worked hard to complete rigorous practical and theoretical training to make it through the course.

“Today marks a new chapter in the lives of these graduates, and I congratulate them on reaching this significant milestone in their careers,” Mr Baker said.

“Being a correctional officer is a challenging, yet rewarding career that often goes unrecognised, despite the important role they play in keeping the community safe.

“Our mission at Parklea Correctional Centre is to run a safe, decent and secure prison that reduces reoffending and takes care of staff.

“To meet these goals, our new officers have undertaken training that provides them with the knowledge and values they need to be able to safely and professionally respond to a variety of situations.

“I’m delighted to welcome our new officers into our ranks and they should feel very proud of their achievements. It is particularly pleasing so many women have chosen a career in corrections. 

“I look forward to working with our new team of officers and wish them all the best for a long and successful career here at Parklea.”

Graduate Katie Ryan, 25, was studying law and child protection in Queensland when she decided to take a break and return to Sydney and apply for a job at Parklea.

“I’ve got family in the police force and I’m interested in corrections and the justice system,” Katie said.

She said the training was a bit daunting in the beginning, but she enjoyed it and learned a lot.

“Sometimes you think ‘Can I do it?’, but it has been a supportive environment and I’ve met great people.

“Starting the job next week will be exciting and a bit scary too, but we’ve all worked so hard for it.”

Katie is a proud Dharawal woman and hopes to be a positive role model for Indigenous people.

“Eventually I’d like to become a trainer and help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”

Katie received the Decent award at the ceremony, for treating everyone with decency and respect, and always displaying what is right, fair and just.

Subjects studied by the trainees include legislation, policies and procedures, de-escalation and use of force tactics, and mental health and general first aid.

They also take part in simulated search and emergency-response exercises, as well as weapons training. Trainees will complete 12-months on-the-job assessments to attain their Certificate III in Correctional Practice.

MTC Australia has managed PCC on behalf of Corrective Services NSW since 2019.