Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed nearly 60 new Corrections officers from a range of backgrounds to the frontline today.
The latest cohort, which graduated at a ceremony in Wellington, includes officers from India, South Africa, Britain, Canada and Niue.
They come from a range of backgrounds and professions including a mechanical engineer, software engineer, data analyst, farmer, nurse and a vet.
Some have also changed careers from within the wider government workforce including police officers, immigration officers and Defence Force staff.
“I am proud that Corrections is attracting such a talented and diverse workforce. These officers should be applauded for choosing a career that will be challenging, as well as rewarding,” Ms Upston says.
“Being on the frontline at Corrections means working face-to-face with offenders every day. It is crucial that the staff are able to engage positively and motivate offenders to change their lives.”
Paul Mohi of Northland Region Corrections Facility was presented with the Minister’s Excellence Award for the all-round excellence he displayed during training.
Mr Mohi, who was born in New Plymouth, served in the Royal NZ Navy, trained as a carpenter and has been a foreman for Fulton Hogan.
“Mr Mohi’s experiences and skills will serve him well as a Corrections officer. During his training, he stood out as an enthusiastic and patient professional who is keen to be a role model for Maori youth,” Ms Upston says.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has today launched a new approach to managing women offenders which aims to successfully support them towards a crime-free life.
“The number of women in prison and being managed by Corrections in the community has increased over the last decade or so,” says Ms Upston.
“We need a fresh approach to helping women offenders stop reoffending while holding them to account for their crimes.”
Corrections manages around 750 women in prison and 6000 in the community.
In general, women commit less serious crime and pose a lower risk to the community than men. Research shows that women offenders tend to have complex histories of severe trauma, mental health issues, substance abuse, unhealthy relationships and poverty which have contributed to their offending.
“The new women’s strategy is based on Corrections’ research into what works best and international best practice.
“It acknowledges that women have different needs to men and outlines a new approach that will give women the treatment, support, counselling and skills they need to have a positive impact on themselves, their children, family and whānau, and future generations,” Ms Upston says.
Some of the initiatives for women include developing a new programme for the small group of high-risk women in prison; employing social workers and counsellors in the three women’s prisons to help improve the well-being of prisoners and work with those who have suffered trauma; and contracting to provide supported accommodation for women on electronically monitored bail.
The new approach will provide women offenders with the interventions and services that meet their needs and risks. Women will be managed in ways that acknowledge trauma and empower them to develop confidence in their ability to build a positive life. Women will be encouraged to develop healthy relationships with their children, partners and others.
“While we acknowledge that these woman are being managed by Corrections because they have committed crimes, most will be returning to their homes in the future, or already live in the community. If they can be helped to turn their life around, it benefits not just them and their family but helps make the community a safer place,” Ms Upston says.
The full strategy document is available here: http://www.corrections.govt.nz/news/latest_news/e_rere_ana_ki_te_pae_hou.html
Associate Minister of Education Louise Upston has announced a new pilot for supporting disengaged young people which will help them to stay in education longer and achieve better outcomes in life.
“The rollout of the new model for delivering learning support will provide more accessible and flexible support to young people to help them realise their full potential. We will be piloting new local responses to better meet the needs of young people at risk of not achieving in education,” Ms Upston says.
Young people aged between 13 and 16 who are alienated from mainstream schooling often end up enrolled in alternative education or activity centres.
The Ministry of Education funds schools to provide 1888 places in alternative education and 280 activity centre places across the country each year. The pilot will be carried out at five Communities of Learning to help test the model that will be made available to all schools.
Ms Upston stressed that alternative education contracts are in place until December 2018 while the pilot is underway and all young people currently in alternative education and activity centres would continue to be supported.
“Communities of Learning are ideal to test the new approaches because they have a wide variety of schooling types and some involve early learning services as well. This means we can further test the new approaches in a wider variety of settings. The presence of early learning services in many communities will allow us to further test how alternative education resources can best follow children as they move from early learning to schooling,” Ms Upston says.
“In the pilots, we will be identifying those at risk earlier in their educational pathway, connecting them with the appropriate supports, and strengthening capability to respond more quickly to the needs of students at risk of disengaging. We will also be working with schools and providers to ensure that students currently in alternative education and activity centres are getting the right learning opportunities and the right support.
“Alternative education and activity centre providers and tutors often cite a range of unmet needs that their students require support with before they can re-engage in learning, including mental health issues and dependency on drugs and alcohol. This is often too late in students’ educational pathways to take meaningful action.
“We will be engaging with the relevant national bodies to draw on their experience and expertise in delivering improved social, educational and life outcomes for disengaged young people.
“All of our young people deserve a high-quality education that sets them onto a pathway to realise their full potential and achieve educational success,” Ms Upston says.
The next steps in strengthening the careers system have been announced today by Associate Education Minister Louise Upston.
“Over the next 12 months, the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will work with Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako and schools that are willing and able to explore new and innovative approaches to deliver better careers education to children and young people.”
“The Ministry of Education and the TEC will partner with the Communities of Learning and schools to deliver careers education at an earlier age that is connected to student aspirations and opportunities in their communities and the world of work,” says Ms Upston.
“We are committed to improving careers education in every school in New Zealand. Communities of Learning and schools not involved will also benefit from receiving improved careers information from the TEC.
“The plan is to ensure that careers education is available to our young people earlier than in the past, and that local and regional career opportunities will be built into the local curriculum.
“Strengthening careers education will make it easier for young people to develop the right skills for the right job. Our expectation is that the change will be a real benefit to regional employers and to regional economies in particular,” says Ms Upston.
“This will build on the Government’s progress in strengthening the careers system through the integration of Careers New Zealand (CNZ) into the TEC, and the publication of school-leaver destination data.”
Ms Upston says the opportunity to explore new approaches to careers education is a direct result of the Government’s decision to shift the provision of careers information to the TEC.
“The change means that the TEC can now provide a single source of careers information that is more responsive, and strengthens the links between education and employment. It also means that the TEC can better tailor information, tools, and services to meet the needs of different groups of people at key transition points in their move from education into the world of work.
“The objective is part of our plan to see children and young people have personalised pathways along their whole educational journey,” says Ms Upston.
A new Prisoner Welfare Governance Board will help Corrections ensure prisoner safety and wellbeing and provide reassurance to the public that prisons are as safe as possible, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
The board, which includes three external members, was established and is chaired by the Corrections chief executive to drive and support the department in its ongoing work to improve the safety and welfare of people in prisons across New Zealand.
“Corrections has a duty of care to the prisoners in its custody and I am pleased it has taken this step to look at ways it can improve prisoner welfare and respond appropriately where there are concerns,” Ms Upston says.
To ensure a range of views are heard, three external members with wide expertise and experience have been appointed. They are Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite, former Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem and former Secretary for Justice Mel Smith.
“The establishment of this board should reassure prisoners and the public that concerns about welfare and safety are of the utmost importance to Corrections and that it is always looking for ways to improve its operations. I look forward to hearing more about its progress,” Ms Upston says.
During its first meeting, on 30 June, the board determined initial priorities and discussed enhancing provision of mental health services, services for people at risk of self-harm and suicide, and the safety and welfare of vulnerable people such as older people or those with disabilities.
In September it will discuss a review of suicides and suspected suicides in prisons, services for people with mental health needs and the department’s management of transgender prisoners.
Rimutaka Prison’s Gate to Plate event has been a tremendous success with more than 240 people visiting the prison for dinner, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
“In its fifth year, the event has been a sell-out, and I’m delighted with the public’s support,” said Ms Upston.
“Today, tomorrow and Thursday this week at Midland Park in Wellington’s CBD, the same group of prisoners who successfully cooked up a storm for the popular event last week will have their culinary masterpieces on display by Corrections at a bonus Gate to Plate pop-up event as part of the Visa Wellington on a Plate festival.
“I was lucky enough to sample the meal ahead of the event and it surpassed my expectations with a range of different foods and types of preparation, cooking and presentation. I’m looking forward to visiting the pop-up on Wednesday.
“The Gate to Plate events coinciding with Got a Trade week is significant, showcasing that our prisoners are gaining valuable skills to bolster their employability and their successful reintegration into society. This year Corrections have delivered 11 million hours of industry training, education and treatment to prisoners.
“Through their hard work, the prisoners will gain qualifications that will help them get work on the outside upon release. This in turn will help them to live a crime-free life.”
The prisoners created canapés, entrées, mains and desserts and were mentored by celebrity chef Martin Bosley, executive chefs James Pask from Whitebait and Kristan Mulcahy from The Green Man, and Rimutaka’s catering instructors.
Trades training and apprenticeships are in the spotlight this week as Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Louise Upston launches Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week in Wellington today. Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week aims to raise awareness of the training and career opportunities New Zealand’s trades and services industry can offer. “With national construction experiencing exponential growth, and primary industries, tourism and services sector booming, it’s now more important than ever to get more young people into trades,” Ms Upston said. “Matching up the skills pipeline is an absolute priority for me as Minister. We’ve got thousands of jobs becoming available every month, and I’ve been working with educators, employers and young people for a while now to make sure they are all talking to each other, ensuring our young people have access to this information and are setting themselves on the right life-long pathways for a successful future. “Got a Trade? Got it Made! has done some great work over the past few years, promoting trades and services as a first career choice with young people, whānau and career influencers like teachers. Now is the time to build on this. “These jobs are some of the highest-paying opportunities available and we should absolutely be communicating this to both parents and young people. They can take a tertiary route and take on a student loan, or, they could purse an apprenticeship and be on a good salary in a few years with no student loan.” According to MBIE’s Future Demand for Construction Workers, around 49,000 more people will be needed in construction-related occupations in the next five years, taking the total to over 539,000. By 2025, an additional 15,100 workers with formal post-school qualifications will be needed in primary industries - a 30 per cent increase on the current workforce. Service industries make up a large proportion of our economy and it is forecast the sector will create 54,000 new jobs over the next five years. “Earlier this year we announced a further $7 million over four years to support industry training on top of the additional Budget 2016 funding of $14.4 million. “Apprenticeships are not just an alternative career choice for young people, they are critical for our economy and offer fantastic earning potential. “We need to work together to help young people understand that apprenticeships and on the job training are a great way to gain the skills needed for lifelong success,” Ms Upston says. For more information on the campaign visit: http://gotatrade.co.nz/
Eleven million hours of rehabilitation, education, employment and constructive activities have been completed by prisoners in the last financial year, as part of the Working Prisons initiative, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
Working Prisons involve prisoners in a structured 40 hour week in preparation for their release and reintegration into the community.
“Working prisons have become a key part of our efforts to turn people away from a life of crime,” says Ms Upston.
“Prisoners’ daily activities are targeted towards their individual needs. They could be studying towards qualifications, learning a trade, attending rehabilitation programmes or learning life skills like budgeting or parenting.”
Just over six million of the total hours completed have been prisoners gaining industry experience or qualifications which will help them find employment on release.
More than 35 industries operate in prisons, delivering training and employment opportunities including hospitality, laundry, grounds maintenance and asset management, farming, distribution, manufacturing, carpentry, and engineering.
“We know that having a job can help to stop someone from committing crime. It enables them to provide for their family, connect with positive support networks and develop a sense of self worth,” says Ms Upston.
Two million of the hours completed by prisoners were for rehabilitation programmes and interventions. These include intensive programmes to address violence, drug and alcohol addiction and child sex offending, and brief interventions to engage prisoners and encourage them to go on to complete further programmes.
“This year a focus of Corrections’ treatment programmes is the support provided to prisoners with mental health issues, and alcohol and drug issues,” says Ms Upston.
More than one million of the hours completed were toward education and learning activities, including literacy and numeracy courses, driver licencing training, work-related qualifications and certificates and reintegration programmes.
Another million hours was comprised of constructive activities, including arts programmes and parenting.
“The Working Prisons framework gives prisoners the opportunity to address the causes of their offending, earn recognised industry-qualifications, learn valuable skills and take part in training that can assist them in finding a job once they are released,” says Ms Upston.
“Providing this support will help prisoners take greater control of their lives, make a positive contribution to their community and ultimately reduce their likelihood of committing crime.”
Over the last financial year, the Department of Corrections made 2226 employment placements in prisons and the community.
A new set of online resources will provide teachers with the information they need to help their students learn about New Zealand’s animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems, says Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston.
“The curriculum-linked resources are being rolled out so that teachers can help students to learn key knowledge and skills while also discovering how these key systems underpin the primary industries and play an important role in our economy, our environment and our way of life,” Ms Upston says.
“The primary industries are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy – accounting for more than 70 per cent of exports. To maintain our competitive edge, we need to ensure young people are aware of different aspects of the primary industries and can explore some of the exciting opportunities available in the sector.”
The resources use local community, regional, national and international contexts to help students learn about the importance of animal welfare, biosecurity and food production systems to themselves, communities, and New Zealand as a key primary industry player on the international stage.
They include activities that encourage students to engage in local action to improve practices and other activities that help students explore the importance of animal welfare and sustainable resource use on the future of our international markets.
The teacher resources have been developed to support learning in Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies and Technology for Levels 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 of The New Zealand Curriculum. They are supported by a series of professional development videos and a LEARNZ virtual field trip, titled 'Our primary industries – sustainable futures through animal welfare, biosecurity, and food systems'.
The resources are available on the MPI website at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/teacher-resources/te-ao-turoa/.
Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston is encouraging graduate vets working in rural areas to apply for funding through the Vet Bonding Scheme.
Since the Scheme was launched in 2009, 227 graduates vets have helped address the ongoing shortages of vets working with production animals in rural areas of New Zealand.
“The 2014 People Powered report told us that by 2025, we need 33,300 more workers with qualifications providing support services, such as veterinary services, to the primary industries,” says Ms Upston.
“By incentivising graduate vets to work in practices that focus on treating production and working animals, we are supporting the increasing demand for skilled workers in the primary industries.”
“Improvements were made earlier this year to ensure the Scheme continues to meet industry needs. These changes included holding the funding round later, allowing grad vets time to secure employment (an application requirement), and including working dogs as an eligible work focus.”
Vets taking part in the scheme are eligible for $55,000 ($11,000 each year) over five years. MPI pays the first instalment in the third year of the scheme, with the second and third instalments made after the fourth and fifth years respectively.
“If you’re in your first year as a practicing veterinarian and have a job in an eligible practice, you may qualify for funding.”
The 2017 funding round will open on 14 August and close at 3pm on 28 August 2017.
For eligibility criteria and to apply, visit http://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/farming/vet-bonding-scheme/