Department of Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith, Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and guests at the Employer Breakfast.The Minister of Corrections hosted a breakfast in Auckland on Tuesday 24 November that was attended by approximately 80 local and national employers.

The breakfast provided an opportunity for some of New Zealand’s biggest employers to hear about the work Corrections is doing to provide offenders with job skills. It was also a chance for Corrections to ask them to consider how they might work with us to reduce re-offending by offering prisoners jobs on release, mentoring or skills training.

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key attended the breakfast and spoke about the importance of stable employment in reducing the crime rate and re-offending.

The Minister, Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said that giving offenders a second chance could make all the difference to their lives.

Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key speaking at the Department of Corrections Employer Breakfast."The message I want to convey to employers is that they can help make a positive difference to the lives of offenders, their families and their communities," said Mr Lotu-Iiga.

An ex-offender also spoke about what being given a second chance has meant to him and his family. The offender has a relationship with Corrections that spans 20 years and two years ago he chose of change his lifestyle. He has been employed with his company for 14 months now, and is now acting assistant manager.

Three prisoners from Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility were on site to make coffee for the guests and showcase their barista skills, and the prison also provided macaroons made by prisoners for the guests to take away.

Feedback from the breakfast was very positive, with one employer who attended saying “It was a superb session - great speakers, meaningful messages and realistic targets for NZ as a team to work towards.  I felt extremely fortunate being there and hope I can in some way contribute to helping make a difference.”

Breakfasts are also being looked at for Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton in future.