Home' Hospitality Business : HB NOV 2016 Contents H
ospitality is ever ywhere, even in prison. On café site visits
to Auckland Prison (for merly Paremoremo), the Auckland
District Court and the Auckland Region Women’s
Cor rections Facility (ARWCF)in Manukau, I had a glimpse
of hospitality that few people see, and the exper ience was as pleasing –
if not more – as a visit to a good café on the ‘outside’.
The inmates chosen for hospitality roles are low r isk, due for release,
and have ear ned privileges through good behaviour. While the work
is hard, involving long hours on top of the offenders’ other duties, it’s
a golden opportunity. Café roles can be ‘outside the wire’ too, in the
community and under supervision, where inmates integrate with the
public and gain confidence.
First call was a container café at Auckland Prison north of the city
at Paremoremo. The canteen overlooks the site of the new maximum-
secur ity prison under construction and due for completion at the end
of 2017.This facility will be state of the art and the kitchens prison-
operated and staffed by inmates. The kitchens will provide opportunities
for offenders to pick up new skills and qualifications in cooking and
hospitality, while prepar ing meals for a total of up to 860 prisoners.
The new prison site has already given inmates the chance to gain
hospitality skills quickly.With about 1000 construction workers on-site
ever y day, a good number visit the café wanting hearty food and decent
coffee, and they’re getting it too.
One café worker we’ll call ‘Paul’ already knew how to cook but learning
to bake has been a revelation. He’s a natural and keen to bake a cake for his
girlfriend when he’s released, “I look forward to coming here every day, for
work and the people contact – it gives you more confidence.”
A sportsman in his for mer life, working outside the wire offered
‘Paul’ possibilities and encouraged him to have a dream. Buzzing from
newly acquired hospo skills, he thought he’d find work in the industry,
but getting to know a building-site manager he has secured a position
in construction when he’s released.
‘Kevin’ worked in construction before his imprisonment in Mt
Eden Cor rections Facility (MECF), where he eventually ran the café.
Good coffee was his revelation, having only ever tried instant. Proud
of his new-found bar ista skills (making 100 coffees in record time for
an event), he wants to be his own boss and with his father’s help, buy a
truck and make great coffee for his customers every day.
Next stop, the Auckland District Court café where ARWCF hospitality
instructor and ServiceIQ course assessor, Erin Aldridge – formerly a chef
and instructor at Pacific International Hotel Management School Ltd
(PIHMS) – supervises inmates from the women’s prison.
The café opened in 2014 and on any given day the women cook
for and serve approximately 250 courtroom staff and professionals. The
women’s days are long.They’re up at 5am to travel into town for a 7am
start, and they finish at 3pm. But it’s a win-win situation: the women
gain exper ience, confidence and self-esteem, while café customers are
contributing to another’s person’s second chance.
Petite and gentle, Erin guides her staff like an angel on a mission, but
she’s no soft touch, “It’s their job to come up with the daily specials and
put them all together with my help.They’re employees and I expect
them to work.
“Their café exper ience gives the women more options. They
leave with appropriate NZQA-accredited qualifications and a sense
CORRECTIONS WANTS YOU
The Department of Corrections is looking for people with hospitality
experience keen to share their knowledge with groups in prison.
Positions in the industry are needed too for qualified, low-risk, and
recently released hospitality workers keen to reintegrate back into
the community. If you can help, please call Julie Wilson, Corrections’
National Manager, Employer Partnerships on 04 462 8347
Hospitality Business went to prison twice in one day recently, calling at three cafés run by Corrections (two on-site
and one off-site) and met the workers there: low-risk, soon-to-be-released prisoners who are picking up hospitality
skills on the job. Each site offers ServiceIQ unit standards, so inmates can walk out the prison gates with an industry-
related qualification and hope for the future. To keep their hopes alive, though, these people need jobs.
BY JES MAGILL
26 | November 2016 | Hospitality BUSINESS
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