Strengthening the social fabric of Australia
REDISCOVER. Reskill. Reboot.
Over the past 4 years, Reboot Australia via MACFORCE Australia has provided Mining, Construction and Resource industry information and employment opportunities to ex-offenders and inmates within Western Australian & Queensland Corrective Services. What originally started as an opportunity to provide information to a minority group amongst a national skills shortage, quickly developed into an untapped talent pool. Upon deeper review, however, we began to understand the role that employment had in breaking the cyclical nature many ex-offenders found themselves in.
Over this time, we built rapport with prisoners through honest, open and eye-to-eye communication, a trait many craved. We created a blueprint for identifying in-prison talent, built a process to overcome individuals' reintegration challenges and continued to break down the stigma of employing ex-offenders. Our unique and refreshing approach and the trust we’ve built inspired ex-offenders of the possibility of employment post-release. Soon, in-prison information sessions and one-on-one interviews were full. The word had got around and candidates began coming from all avenues. Whether it was from inmates within prison walls or recently released members of society through JobActives, direct from the community or via reintegration services statewide, people wanting a second chance reached out.
As we shared and employed, we developed an understanding of the challenges each prisoner faced upon release and gaining employment. We learnt the ins and outs of the reintegration process, built relationships with key stakeholders and became reintegration employment experts. Our industry knowledge and connection to job opportunities helped us see the gaps within the system. We could see industry crying out for skilled labour amidst a national skills shortage and an entire stream of candidates seeking a second chance through employment.
Reboot Australia, using the reintegration through employment model bridges the gap between incarceration and employment. As Brad North (Northy) our lived experience program coordinator wrote in a recent blog, "Those who’ve been incarcerated know what it’s like to have everything taken away and generally this helps them appreciate any opportunities given to them".