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​Josh Watson

Overseer (upholstery)

Three years with Corrective Services NSW

For Josh Watson it was a genuine desire to teach people new skills that drew him to become a trade overseer at Cessnock Correctional Centre.

The former motor trimmer (auto upholsterer) says during his time with Corrective Services he's discovered that offenders who are engaged and active with work and programs tend to be less aggressive.

"Our job is not just to teach a trade but also a sense of purpose," he says.

"We need to give them a routine, a reason to get out of bed and to open up the doors to the various job opportunities that come with having these skills upon release.

"The job is different every day but through persistence we hope to create positive change in the inmates' behaviour.

Mr Watson is an overseer in the upholstery industry of the correctional centre where around 30 inmates learn to manufacture items such as mattresses, pillows, sandbags and other items.

The 29-year-old is also a volunteer for the local Rural Fire Service along with several other staff from Cessnock Correctional Centre and says there are a lot of similar values between both jobs.

"Like CSNSW, the RFS teaches you discipline, teamwork, liaising with the community and most importantly ensuring people are safe.

"We were battling a large fire near Port Stephens at the end of last year and I remember the relief for the elderly residents at a nearby caravan park when we pulled up and they knew they were safe in their homes."

Mr Watson is also a representative of the centre's Prison Expansion Program, assisting the project to build three new facilities to house 1,000 inmates. He liaises with new contractors who are working onsite and other community and government stakeholders.

"The organisation offers opportunities to move into various roles such as project management, which helps staff progression," he says.