Hundreds of offenders benefit from Employer Partnership Initiatives

  • Louise Upston

Corrections Minister Louise Upston is impressed at the results being achieved by the Department’s Employer Partnerships initiatives and is looking forward to them continuing to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“Finding steady employment for offenders when they leave prison is a critical step to helping these people turn their lives around. The work Corrections has been doing with offenders and potential employers in this area is very promising,” says Ms Upston.

“The decision to recruit eight Offender Recruitment Consultants nationwide has proved particularly successful. Since they began making placements in November, 482 offenders have successfully moved into employment.”

The Employer Partnerships initiatives are designed to support offenders into employment with opportunities provided both inside and outside prison.

Offenders can obtain qualifications through education and training courses offered whilst in prison and this provides them with the first step towards employment when they are released.

Corrections then works with potential employers to match prisoners with positions relevant to their experience and qualifications. So far 125 employers have signed MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) with the Department.

“We have hosted three successful Employer’s breakfasts already this year in Hamilton, Christchurch and Wellington. The feedback from employers has been positive and has enabled us to engage, and build relationships, with employers, informing them of the opportunities available by working with Corrections.”

“There is a natural hesitancy for employers to take on offenders but the work that is being undertaken by Corrections is helping to break down those perceptions and is delivering work ready employees,” says Ms Upston.

Corrections is developing an enhanced strategy to build on the early success of the programme. This includes both a national and regional focus and an initiative to encourage current partners to bring a ‘friend’ to future events to understand the work being done by Corrections in industry, education and training.