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Businesses from around the lower North Island will be urged to consider offenders as employees at a breakfast function hosted by Corrections Minister Louise Upston and the Corrections Department next week.

The event on Tuesday is part of a series being held around the country aimed at getting employers onboard with hiring people who have spent time in prison.

Two similar events, in Hamilton and Christchurch, proved successful with a number of businesses stepping up.

“Since the Hamilton and Christchurch breakfasts, 13 companies have either signed agreements with Corrections or have requested more information; eight businesses have listed more than 20 positions with Corrections and five people have been placed into employment,” Ms Upston says.

“More than 110 memorandums of understanding have been signed by Corrections and employers. I am also delighted to announce that Corrections has signed an agreement with New Zealand Labour Hire that has the potential to assist 150 former offenders into employment across the country. Already more than 70 people have been employed either casually or fulltime in the construction industry through the company.

“The commitment from employers is encouraging. Without their support, the task of helping to turn people away from a life of crime can be more difficult. Some prisoners have never had a job so finding them employment, getting them into a routine and earning money gives them a greater sense of self-worth.”

More than 100 employers and stakeholders have been invited to Tuesday’s Wellington event, where they will hear from an employer and from a former prisoner who has been employed. Similar events are planned for other centres around the country at a later date.

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