Over 4,700 prisoners participate in employment or industry training.
Prisoners who undertake employment and training do so on a voluntary basis and are generally enthusiastic about being provided with the opportunity and responsibility of learning new skills.
Prisoners are trained in a number of industries including farming, nurseries, organics, forestry, timber processing, furniture making, textiles, catering, engineering, concrete product manufacturing, printing and laundries. Training occurs through a variety of methods including business-like industries, industry training, work parties and unit-based activities within the prison (see descriptions below). In most employment activities, prisoners are trained by qualified instructors to NZQF standards. Eligible prisoners have the opportunity to participate in Release to Work (see description below).
Business-like industries: There are over 140 business-like industries operating in prisons across the country. They aim to provide work environments that match, as closely as possible, comparable industry environments.
Work parties: Low security supervised groups of prisoners who work with local and regional councils, communities or businesses on work contracts outside the prison. They work in areas such as forestry, horticulture, farming, construction and grounds maintenance.
Release to Work: Prisoners approaching the end of their prison sentence may be eligible to engage in employment in the community, with an approved employer, and with a view to maintaining their employment upon release. These prisoners are low security prisoners who meet strict eligibility criteria and have demonstrated that they are highly motivated to work.
Industry training: Prisoners have the opportunity to undertake industry training which provides them with formal qualifications through the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, allowing them to gain unit standards and industry certified national certificates. This training often comprises both theoretical and practical components and is conducted within the prison environment.
Unit-based activities: Prisoners are employed in the cleaning and care of their unit, community work parties and other constructive activities.
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