Topics: Education, Employment

Govt up-skill initiative sees former inmates gain employment

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

Employers got the opportunity to see how they can provide jobs to offenders. Corrections Minister Louise Upston hosted an employer breakfast today showcasing Corrections training to address industry skills shortages to employers.

A gathering promoting the many skills among past and current offenders to gain opportunities from potential employers

Minister Upston says, “For our inmates and our former inmates, they don’t know what it’s like to have had a job. They don’t know what it’s like to be able to provide for their families. One thing that I want to ask you this morning is to consider giving that to someone else.”

Minister Upston hosted an Employer Breakfast this morning showcasing how Corrections provides training to address industry skills shortages with employers to provide opportunities for offenders. Chris is one of those former inmates who worked with Corrections to gain employment and is now helping others achieve the same results.

“For Māori men in general, the first barrier is getting over being whakamā and being shy. Just opening yourself up, and having a voice. It’s a key to getting the support that they need. And maybe they can make it more available so that it’s black and white in front of your face.”

Māori Corrections director Neil Campbell says, “110 people have been placed into employment by these types of relationships, of that 210 people that have been placed into employment in that 11 months. 56% of them are Māori. We’ve found the confidence of inmate improves when they find employment.”

Inmate Chris says that the strategies and programmes that Corrections run are great that it needs to be easier for the prisoners to access this support. he says that there are so many skills within the jails, but his mission today is to communicate that with the potential employers.

“Give us a chance. I’m living proof that the programme works and with your support and the mentors that should be put in place. I’m guessing that’s what’s going to happen after today. This will happen and you're going to be doing society, in general, a great service.”

Chris hopes that the great work will continue so that the lives of the people coming out of prison, are able to be influenced positive change.

Employers got the opportunity to see how they can provide jobs to offenders. Minister Upston hosted an employer breakfast today showcasing Corrections training to address industry skills shortages to employers.