Corrections is working with one of New Zealand’s largest labour hire companies to help find jobs for 150 offenders across the country.

The Department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand Labour Hire to provide employment opportunities to 150 released prisoners and community-based offenders.

NZ Labour Hire is one of the country’s largest providers of industrial work personnel and has multiple branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

An employers’ breakfast was held in Wellington yesterday [20 June 2017], after two highly successful earlier events in Hamilton and Christchurch. Designed to provide better outcomes for offenders, including helping them into regular paid employment, the breakfasts connect potential employers with offenders looking to turn their life around.

Corrections’ Director Offender Employment and Reintegration Stephen Cunningham says the partnership not only provides prisoners with jobs when they are released, it also supports offenders’ reintegration into society and fills critical vacancies in the construction industry.

“This partnership to help prisoners into secure meaningful employment offers substantial benefit to both organisations, to families across the country and to the public as a whole,” he says.

“Employers have access to hard working, reliable and energetic staff eager for an opportunity to turn their life around, while the employees get a second chance and the opportunity to enter an industry where there are genuine career progression opportunities available.”

Corrections celebrated the signing of its 100th MoU with Waste Management earlier this year. Employers willing to provide career training and employment to offenders that have signed MoUs with Corrections include Global Bus Ventures and Horticulture NZ.

“We know that having stable employment plays a huge role in reducing the likelihood of re-offending once someone leaves prison. This is good for the prisoner, their whanau and the communities they return to,” Mr Cunningham says.

NZ Labour Hire General Manager Marlon Henri says the construction industry is under pressure to find staff and Corrections has been able to help.

“Our partnership with Corrections is an approach that works for our clients, it works for the men and women that need a second chance and it works for us too.”

More than 70 offenders have been employed by the company on a casual or fulltime basis within the construction industry so far and there are still positions available.

“Our Corrections employees are an integral part of our business and are paving the way for us to provide a service to our clients on major infrastructure projects that benefit the country,” Mr Henri says.

Corrections has its own recruitment service to connect offenders with meaningful jobs once they are released from prison. Over the past seven months, around 423 people with convictions have been placed into sustainable jobs.

Corrections also runs an Employment Support Service, which provides job placement and in-work support for prisoners due for release and for offenders on community sentences. To date the programme has helped over 210 offenders find jobs.

Corrections delivers a wide range of education and employment training programmes in prisons including horticulture, manufacturing, construction, painting and hospitality. In the last financial year, around 9000 offenders were engaged in employment-related activities.