This week, Canon New Zealand announced an agreement with the department of Corrections that will see prison inmates trained to assemble and dismantle machines.Successful pilots at Rimutaka Prison, and the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, have led to the establishment of workshops, with a view to employing up to eight inmates at each prison. The scheme will provide training and up-skilling for the prisoners with the aim of increasing their chances of gaining employment upon release.
Craig Manson, managing director of Canon New Zealand believes the programme fits with the one of the company’s core values: the Kyosei Philosophy. He says, “This means ‘living and working together for the common good of the community’. The investment of time and resources into this programme is not only going to assist the prisoners with possible reintegration into society but also help to develop safer communities as research shows that prisoners who find sustainable employment on release are less likely to re-offend.”
Over the past six years Canon supplied photocopiers, printers and scanners to the Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) scheme at the Wellington Prison print shop. Impressed by the quality of the work produced, Canon decided to enter into a contract.
The combined workshops assemble 135 new machines per month, exceeding the initial target for refurbishment of 30 to 50 machines per month. Canon supplies a technician, who attends the workshop, training the inmates in the assembly and dismantling of the photocopiers. An electronic manufacturing instructor oversees the work.
Prisoners working within the Canon workshops can obtain NZQA credits towards a National Certificate in Electronic Manufacturing Level 3.
Canon says it faces a situation where demand for services outstrips supply in both the Wellington and Auckland regions, with technicians spending the majority of their time on site honouring service agreements. The company says this partnership will address the issue of the shortage of qualified workers within the market.
Declan Ryan, Canon Wellington branch manager, reckons the quality of the work produced by the prisoners was of such a high standard they could hardly tell the difference between theirs and that of the technicians. He says, “One of the inmates said he felt the work provided him with the opportunity to give back to the community whilst addressing his rehabilitation.
The scheme also supports Canon’s environmental policy. Manson says, ”Canon has a commitment to reducing waste and increasing sustainability and this programme is a great example of how to make that ideology a reality. Canon works hard to reduce environmental burden and we focus on the complete lifecycle of our product. This scheme encompasses not only dismantling and rebuilding of machines but also the recycling of components.”
This pilot recycling scheme in the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility currently produces one pallet of recyclable components from the machines per month, minimising the impact on landfills.
Canon sells its products on a ‘cradle to grave’ basis. When a machine becomes obsolete, the client can bring it back to Canon for recycling.