Canon goes behind bars to train inmates

Canon goes behind bars to train inmates

Inmates at Auckland Region Women’s Correction Facility and Rimutaka prison in Upper Hutt will be trained to assemble new photocopiers and dismantle old ones.

Canon has signed an agreement with the Department of Corrections this month to provide the training for up to eight inmates at each prison, with the aim of increasing their chances of gaining employment. The arrangement comes after recent trials at the facilities.

Corrections Minister Phil Goff says the Department is keen to develop partnerships with the private sector for mutual benefit to both parties. “The Canon technicians will teach the inmates to assemble the photocopiers and dismantle old copiers. It’s great to see the machines being recycled as well [at Auckland Region Women’s Correction Facility].”

At present 135 new photocopiers are assembled every month across both prisons, but Goff says the deal will not take away jobs from technicians in the market.

“Canon has assured me that their workers are fully employed at the moment doing servicing work in the community and they were having real problems finding qualified people to assemble the machines.”

Prisoners working within the Canon workshops are able to obtain NZQA credits towards a National Certificate in Electronic Manufacturing level three.

Canon managing director Craig Manson says the agreement will complement the company’s output of photocopiers to the channel.

“I understand we are the only photocopier company to sign an agreement like this in New Zealand. When we first explored this opportunity, we did a lengthy trial and were happy with the output results.”

He added that the company has already been supplying the Wellington Prison printshop with photocopiers, printers and scanners for the past six years.

“One of the positive outcomes for us is recycling old machines in this facility, as Canon has a goal of sending zero waste to landfill in the short to medium-term. We are breaking the components down and sending these offshore for recycling.”

Manson says a technician received feedback from an inmate at Rimutaka, who said the work gave him an opportunity to contribute back to the community while addressing his rehabilitation.

“This agreement is a great example of corporate and government working together for the benefit of the community.”

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