A group photo of five members of the Corrections’ Southern Employment team.
L-R) Otago ETC Christine Crawford, Southern PAED Garron Starr, General Manager Workforce Central Dunedin Mark Cartwright, MBIE's Senior Regional Advisor Industry Innovation Andy Cowan and Southern Partnership Group Chair Pete Hodgson.

Engagement between Workforce Central Dunedin (WFCD) and the Corrections’ Southern Employment team continues to flourish. There are potentially dozens of jobs for people with offending histories and opportunities for expanding prison industry training programmes.

WFCD, which has been established to address workforce supply and potential skills shortfall for the build, estimates the New Dunedin Hospital project will need more than 300 new workers in addition to the 300 people already working in construction in the city.

Southern Principal Advisor Employment Development Garron Starr, Otago Employment Training Consultant Christine Crawford and OCF Learning & Interventions Delivery Manager Sherie Lucke are working alongside WFCD to ensure that those in our care are some of the people to gain employment through the hospital build project.

The Corrections team is developing learning and employment pathways for men in OCF and Rolleston Prison carpentry, engineering and construction training programmes.

In a recent media article, New Dunedin Hospital project chairman Pete Hodgson acknowledged the challenge and the role of Corrections in this mahi.

“Generating a workforce to build a hospital worth at least $1.4 billion will take a concerted effort,” says Pete. “People leaving prison are among the likely future employees who have begun training for the assignment.”

WFCD has set a goal to connect the community to the project and to provide a conduit for people who want to be involved.

Artist rendition of the new Dunedin Hospital
Projection of what Dunedin Hospital will look like.

“They are very open to working with people with offending histories and this opportunity for long periods of employment and further skill development could be life changing for many of the men and women learning skills for employment with us and looking for that willing employer,” says Garron.

WFCD will offer a comprehensive induction process, ongoing training and upskilling, as well as well-being support to help maintain the high level of productivity needed on the build.

“Their investment in worker wellbeing, ongoing training and career progression mean the sky is the limit for people we can prepare for this employment,” says Garron.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between WFCD and the department to support this working relationship and regular meetings are held to ensure a skills match for the project and those people we are training.

The Corrections’ employment team will continue to provide a wrap-around service, tailored to the employer and employee, and to support our people as they navigate their way around a new job placement.

“We are very excited to be working alongside this project team, and for our men to be a part of this wonderful opportunity,” says Garron.