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BOSSES behind a brand new organisation which will be providing learning and skills at Wrexham’s prison HMP Berwyn have spoken of their delight at its launch.

An event held at Stiwt Theatre in Rhosllanerchrugog on Friday celebrated the start of Novus Cambria – a partnership between Coleg Cambria and Novus, the UK’s largest provider of education and training to offenders.

The five-year project has created 100 jobs in the Wrexham area and will see Novus Cambria enable prisoners to learn in a variety of areas, including foundation subjects, construction, horticulture and catering David Jones, CEO at Coleg Cambria and director at Novus Cambria, thanked the guests, many of whom were partners and representatives of the various local authorities and companies, for their support of the project.

He said: “Coleg Cambria is deeply rooted in North East Wales and we are delighted that this brand new training partnership formed between the college and Novus brings together a high level of educational and skills excellence that will further enhance opportunities in education, training and employment in the Wrexham area and beyond.

“A number of the prisoners are going to be coming from Wales so the Welsh language is important – the sort of things we’re going to be offering are foundation and functional skills starting at the level of Welsh, English, maths and IT skills, but looking at employability skills more broadly and self -employment skills.

“HMP Berwyn is not going to be like other prisons. It is new but the philosophy they have there is quite different – it’s about men, it’s about treating them as people.”

Peter Cox, director at Novus Cambria and managing director of Novus, said: “Novus Cambria is looking forward to starting work at HMP Berwyn and working alongside the team there.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to support the men at HMP Berwyn by providing them with the skills, qualifications and knowledge they need to find work upon release and lead crime free-lives.

“We bring together through this unique partnership three key ingredients: quality, expertise and capability.”

Mr Jones and Mr Cox then cut a special cake baked by men at Manchester prison to commemorate the beginning of Novus Cambria.

Nick Dann, deputy project director for HMP Berwyn, said: “Having Novus Cambria on board, it is a first for the prison service to go out to market to get an organisation to deliver a learning and skills, it is so unique.

“The college we’re going to have in Berwyn is going to have 540 men each day going in there. Some of our men will be doing this like joinery and bricklaying.

“Rehabilitation is at the core of everything we are doing. The men who come to Berwyn will find it very different to their previous experience in custody.”

Steve Thomas, government affairs executive for Airbus, said: “We’re delighted to support it, it builds upon the strong and robust partnership which already exists between Airbus and Coleg Cambria.

“I’m sure the quality of delivery which we experience will be transferred over to the men of HMP Berwyn and we wish everyone involved all the best successes.”

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