The first people recruited to work in HMP Berwyn completed their training last week.
At a graduation held at Glyndwr University on Friday 14 October, Governor Russ Trent spoke of his pride in the hard work and attitude of all the graduates.
He said: “The people who graduated last week are the ones who will create the culture at Berwyn. They have shown they are passionate about helping people change their lives and contributing to making our society safer.
“When we first started recruiting, I wanted as many local people as possible to work at Berwyn and the quality of applications from people in Wrexham and the surrounding area was inspirational. Now these people have the tools to go and make that change happen.”
At the graduation, a number of awards were given out to those prison officers and operational support grades.
Llinos Roberts was voted the ‘People’s Person’.
Speaking after receiving the award, she said: “I have a degree in criminology and criminal justice so joining Berwyn was a great opportunity for me. I’m from rural Wales where there aren’t many opportunities to put this into practice.
“It’s been intense but fun with such a great team spirit. I particularly enjoyed learning about the safer custody aspect – I didn’t realise how vulnerable some of the men in custody are so it’s been a real eye-opener.”
For some of the graduates, the ceremony at Glyndwr University was a return to where the journey started for them. A recruitment event last November at the university was the point at which they applied to join Berwyn.
For the first time since national prison service training began, everyone who started the course completed it and will go on to work in Berwyn.
Emily Shute said: “I previously worked in the Payroll team at Cheshire Council so this has been a real change.
“I’m really excited to be going into Berwyn. It’s going to be different to every other establishment.”
Special guests on the day were Simon Boddis, the director of NOMS in Wales and Nick Hardwick, the former Chief Inspector of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons.
The graduates will now spend time working in other establishments before returning to Berwyn when it opens in February.