The Department of Corrections and Waste Management NZ Limited signed a milestone employer partnership agreement on Tuesday 4 April at the latter organisation’s head office in Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington.
Waste Management became Corrections’ 100th employer partner agreeing to provide job opportunities to released prisoners and community-based offenders – not only to fill critical vacancies, but also to support offenders’ reintegration into society.
“Assisting offenders to find stable employment plays a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of re-offending, once someone leaves prison,” said Jeanette Burns, the Department of Corrections’ northern regional commissioner.
“I wish to thank Waste Management for joining forces with the Department to strengthen its efforts to prevent people from returning to prison. Corrections cannot do this alone and the Department relies heavily on its partners to help reduce re-offending through jobs and further training.”
The landmark partnership will see Corrections work with Waste Management to match released prisoners and community offenders with suitable jobs at more than 65 Waste Management sites across New Zealand.
“At Waste Management, we want to play our part in making our communities safer and giving people a fresh start in life. We are pleased to collaborate with the Department on this initiative,” said Tom Nickels, Managing Director of Waste Management NZ.
“Waste Management can offer long-term employment opportunities all over New Zealand to people interested in becoming drivers, general operators, labourers, diesel mechanics, landfill operators, dispatchers, weighbridge operators, and runners. We also have opportunities for those who wish to work in customer services roles.
“Drivers, especially, are in huge demand across New Zealand. We can help with further training opportunities and support to help people gain their truck driver’s licence. We look forward to seeing motivated candidates coming through the programme and being part of our team,” emphasised Mr Nickels.
Waste Management is New Zealand’s leading provider of waste and environmental services. The organisation employs about 1500 people nationwide, and is often recruiting for up to 50 vacancies at any one time.
Ms Burns explained that New Zealand’s total prison population amounted to over 10,000 at present, the highest it has ever been. Nationwide, Corrections managed about 30,000 community-based offenders.
“About 45 per cent of the prison population is being held in five prisons in Corrections’ northern region [Auckland to Northland], and almost half of all community offenders are being managed in the northern region,” said Ms Burns.
In east Auckland, Panmure Community Corrections service centre manages over 500 offenders on community-based sentences and orders, covering neighbourhoods from Orakei to Panmure, Ellerslie to Pakuranga, and all the way to Musick Point. Corrections delivers a wide range of education and employment training programmes in prisons including horticulture, manufacturing, construction, painting and hospitality. In the last financial year, around 9000 offenders were engaged in employment-related activities.
“The training and rehabilitation programmes in prisons and at our community corrections centres, ensure that these people are well equipped with quality, employable skills that are widely recognised by employers,” said Ms Burns.
Corrections has its own recruitment service to connect offenders with meaningful jobs once they are released from prison. Over the past five months, about 300 people with convictions have been placed into long-term, sustainable jobs.
The Department has also been running an Employment Support Service (ESS) over the last three years, which provides job placement and in-work support for prisoners due for release and for offenders on community sentences.
“It’s fantastic to see these programmes making a real difference and helping offenders get successfully placed into employment,” said Ms Burns.
- Employers, who would like more information on offender employment, can get in touch with Julie Wilson, National Manager Employer Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Panmure Community Corrections centre in Jellicoe Road can also provide more information about training and employment opportunities for offenders.