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Job-hunting skills help offenders in Hamilton

Job-hunting skills help offenders in Hamilton

Hamilton Community Corrections is helping people serving sentences in the community to get work-ready through a new ‘work and living skills’ programme.

Following feedback from Community Work crews seeking assistance with CV writing, Service Manager Elisabeth Cianci set out to develop something that could be delivered by Corrections staff as and where required.

The CV preparation session ‘Ready Set Work’ is part of the Department’s work and living skills initiative and has been created to support other work conducted by probation officers and community work supervisors. Relevant information has been collated into a resource for participants and a facilitator guide developed to enable the session to be delivered by any staff member to a group, at short notice and without much access to technology.

Over the past two months, Hamilton Community Corrections has delivered seven Ready Set Work sessions to around 40 people.

The two and a half hour sessions covers:

• Identifying areas of potential interest for career paths
• Tailoring a CV to suit an application
• Identifying available local jobs and industry shortage areas (including a list of providers who are willing to hire employees with criminal conviction histories)
• Identifying personal skills and strengths
• Creating effective CVs
• Searching for job opportunities
• Making a good first impression with personal presentation
• Developing interview skills

Elisabeth says the sessions delivered to date have received positive feedback and that participants find the initiative gives them valuable skills and tools:

“The kaupapa of the session is primarily to build motivation and confidence, with the end goal of producing a first draft of a CV. Those who attend get their own resource pack, which they can take with them to keep working on.”

One of the session’s most recent participants agrees and is feeling optimistic about her potential future:

"I enjoyed this course and have found it to be a great start for many, just like myself and those that I attended it with. I feel confident enough to apply my CV and cover letter with the right wording and outlay. I will definitely be sure that I will be employed before the end of this year. I have many opportunities. I feel positive and confident.”

Samantha* explains that she had a CV, but it was not successful in assisting her with getting work. Ready Set Work helped her refine her approach and develop useful interview skills. She shared her own observations about how the other participants responded and was grateful for the facilitator's guidance:

"All participants interacted and were not shy or whakama to ask questions, although at times it seemed some sounded frustrated. Our tutor handled every question respectfully and professionally.”

Elisabeth says her team plan to follow up with previous participants to check progress and provide further support.

ENDS

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