Eleven women are among 40 new recruits that have been selected to take up positions as correctional officers with the Correctional Service Solomon Islands (CSSI).

The first intake of 20 officers has commenced their training and the second intake will commence in February 2009.

The Commissioner of Correctional Service Solomon Islands, Mr Francis Haisoma said the 20 new recruits were like "seeds that have been planted by a farmer and will be cared for and nurtured as they grow."

"This is very true for the 20 young men and women who have commenced their journey as disciplined and professional officers of the correctional service," Mr Haisoma said.

The intake of new recruits is the result of a major recruitment and selection process which has taken place over several months and in several provinces. This follows the work that has been done in partnership with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to strengthen recruitment processes within the Correctional Service.

More than 1300 written applications were received for the positions and these were screened and short listed, before almost 700 applicants were asked to sit a pre-entrance exam in different locations on the same day and time. Finally a panel interviewed the 175 applicants who achieved the 'pass mark' in the exam.

Recruitment panels, made up of officers from various provincial backgrounds, travelled to Auki, Gizo, Lata and Kirakira to ensure that provincial areas were not disadvantaged. More than 100 applicants were interviewed in Honiara.

The recruitment and selection process has been conducted in a fair and transparent way. All applicants were provided with equal opportunity to win the positions regardless of their age, gender or province.

Mr Haisoma said the final result speaks for itself with all provinces being represented amongst the successful applicants and 11 out of the 40 of the new recruits being women (28%).

"This is a much higher representation of women than previous intakes and demonstrates CSSI's genuine commitment to gender equity," he said.

CSSI is now looking forward to a very bright future which is founded upon a professional, diverse and highly disciplined workforce. As Commissioner Haisoma stated to the new recruits, CSSI will be expecting the seeds to bear fruit in the years to come.

Source: Press Release