Out of all the other negative rubbish that appeared in the New Zealand Herald last Saturday this story from Simon Collins stood out.
Hawkins Construction has started an employment initiative for troubled youth on the North Shore of Auckland. They have hired 12 offenders, and in doing so have cut crime in the area by a staggering 90%.
Two Hawkins employees, Mark Katterns and Rob Hodgkinnson, initially approached an after-school programme to offer rugby coaching. The enterprising coordinator, Dude TuiSamoa, thought their mentoring skills could be better used in providing employment prospects.
Two great things from this example:
- Hawkins Construction was willing to take on these youngsters, at some risk
- These kids are off the street and doing good honest work
Hawkins Construction has the size, and probably a wide range of tasks within it’s organisation to offer these offenders a choice. And it probably has an infrastructure that allows these boys to become immersed in worthwhile tasks.
These boys are working nearly a twelve hour day – personally collected from their homes at 6.15am (in some cases dragged from their beds) and delivered back at 6.30pm. That’s a long day, but probably helps to break the cycle of crime and boredom.
There’s great value in this approach, free from government and local government direction – for the offenders, for the community and for Hawkins Construction. It’s a private company making a choice on behalf of North Shore youth and winning hands down.