With plenty of exterior painting on the go in the south, Dunedin Housing Maintenance Contractors (DHMC) Ltd is on the hunt for a new tradie to join its ranks. But it’s also hoping to give someone a second chance in the process.
A Housing New Zealand head contractor, DHMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Corrections at the end of 2015.
“Corrections has a goal of achieving a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by this year and a big contributor to achieving that is providing employment opportunities for people who’ve previously offended,” says DHMC General Manager Mark Dore. “On the flipside, we frequently need tradies to bolster our workforce so the idea of working together to achieve both objectives makes sense.”
The two are currently working together to see if they can successfully identify the right person for the exterior painting role.
As reported in the last issue of Contractor Connect DHMC has already had a successful and productive relationship with the Otago Corrections Facility, whose inmates designed and built a painting tent prototype for use around Housing New Zealand properties situated on tricky slopes.
“We’ve just taken delivery of the finished product this month, so we’re looking forward to seeing how the tents perform in action.”
And Mark hopes as good a result can come from the arrangement to connect inmates with the painting, decorating and labouring vacancies they have arise.
“Some might consider it a bit of a social risk to be employing someone who has ‘done time’. But we actually have more awareness of their backgrounds than many people do when they recruit via a conventional process.
“There are stringent selection criteria; the person has to have completed training toward a National Certificate in Painting or similar, and have ticked a number of other boxes, right down to attitude, reliability and willingness to work.
“It’s a chance for us to source productive skills and labour while giving offenders a fresh start and valuable experience.”
Having a job helps to build structure and purpose into a person’s life says the Department of Corrections. It increases the opportunity to build positive and pro-social support networks, further develop communication skills and self-identity and promote financial independence. All of these benefits increase a person’s resilience and support them to lead a crime-free life.