Auckland, 3 October 2017
A scheme employing former prisoners to make frames and trusses for new homes across Auckland has seen 14 people employed after release, with another two about to start work.
The employment programme was started in 2015 by Serco and PlaceMakers, part of the Fletcher Building group of companies.
Prisoners who progress through the PlaceMakers programme inside Kohuora are trained to make frames and trusses used in building homes across Auckland. They can then apply for a post-release job at PlaceMakers’ nearby Frame and Truss site in Wiri.
Chief Executive of Fletcher Building’s Distribution Division, Dean Fradgley said: “This employment programme enables us to make a real difference to the community and the lives of participants. One of the most powerful gifts any person can receive is a second chance, and we are proud to partner with Serco to provide employment opportunities for Kohuora prisoners and former prisoners.
“The people we have had participate in the programme so far tell us it has been life changing.
“We’d like to emphasise that we get great value from these employees, who come to us trained and motivated, and we’d like to encourage other employers to give people a second chance.”
Kohuora Director Mike Inglis said: “As much as possible, we aim to replicate real work conditions for the men in Kohuora, but we can only do this with the support of business partners like Fletcher Building and PlaceMakers, who have established a genuine employment pathway from prison back into the community.
“As well as gaining skills experience, prisoners develop normal work routines, including regular attendance, punctuality and productivity.
“PlaceMakers’ experience in employing prisoners on release demonstrates that the men’s experience in training and working in industries within Kohuora has stood them in good stead for external employment opportunities.”
“There is a wide variety of jobs in Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility available to prisoners willing to work. In each sector of industry, the men have the opportunity to achieve NZQA-approved unit standards relevant to that industry. All prisoner job vacancies are advertised and the men prepare a CV, write an application letter and attend an interview, as they would in the community.”
Of the 14 employed by PlaceMakers, seven are still working for PlaceMakers, with another three having moved on to other employment within the industry or within manufacturing.
While working for PlaceMakers (owned by Fletcher Building) in the Kohuora workshop, prisoners receive in-depth training across all areas of planning, production, despatch, safety and quality.
Prisoners have the opportunity to progress from entry level staff to supervisor.
After suitable assessment, selected inmates are offered jobs at PlaceMakers Frame and Truss Plant at Wiri in Auckland and other PlaceMakers Frame and Truss plants across New Zealand. These jobs are offered after inmates have successfully completed a training programme implemented by Serco and PlaceMakers within Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility
PlaceMakers Auckland Frame & Truss management team conduct day to day mentoring to these staff members. This complements the support provided by Serco’s reintegration team, including developing literacy and numeracy skills and assistance gaining bank accounts, IRD numbers and doctors’ appointments as required.
PlaceMakers has now employed 14 former prisoners, with another two about to join. Of those, seven are still working for PlaceMakers, with another three having moved on to other employment within the industry.
Working prisoners are paid by the Department of Corrections, and earn the same amount they would receive if they were undertaking the work in a prison run by the Department.
Release to Work
Prisoners eligible for Release to Work are nearing the end of their sentence, are eager to work, have proven they can be trusted and have shown themselves to be highly motivated.
In all cases, potentially eligible prisoners must undergo a thorough assessment process determining the mitigation of any risk to community safety and the adequacy of supervision and monitoring before the Department of Corrections clears a prisoner for Release to Work.
Prisoners wear an electronic ankle bracelet while they are outside the prison. Their movements are recorded by a monitoring system, and there is an immediate alert if the monitor is tampered with or removed.
The monitoring centre is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to monitor the prisoners on GPS and respond to any alerts.
For further information please contact:
External Relations Manager
Fletcher Building (owner of PlaceMakers)
027 807 2933
Serco New Zealand
027 290 6070