Corrections Minister Louise Upston will tomorrow host the second in a series of employer breakfasts in Canterbury to outline how they can help change the lives of offenders, their families and their communities.
Ms Upston and Corrections will showcase the work being done by the department to provide better outcomes for offenders, including helping them into regular paid employment. The first breakfast held in Hamilton last month attracted many employers keen to hire motivated and skilled workers.
Corrections signed up its 100th employer last month but more are needed to provide men and women steady work and a regular income when they leave prison.
“Some prisoners have never held down a job, yet we know that people who find stable employment on leaving prison are less likely to end up back in the justice system. Having a job is crucial to reducing reoffending,” Ms Upston says.
“Corrections provides prisoners with opportunities including education, skills and work training. We know there is a skills shortage and some employers are struggling to find skilled and motivated workers, so this is a win-win for all involved.”
Corrections has seen around 9000 offenders involved in employment-related activities last year and more than 4600 achieving qualifications, a 25 per cent increase on the year before.
Corrections employs full-time education tutors who support 4769 prisoners and deliver education and employment training programmes including horticulture, manufacturing, construction, painting and hospitality.
Corrections also has initiatives aimed at supporting employers to take on offenders. The Employment Support Service provides job placement and up to six months in-work support to help former prisoners get and keep their jobs. Offender recruitment consultants work with offenders and employers around the country.
“Corrections does the work to find the right person for the job, and employers gain a skilled employee,” Ms Upston says.
Further employer breakfasts are planned in other urban centres around the country.