Manual work training is the latest attempt by the Department of Corrections to stop Timaru's young offenders breaking the law again.
The programme aims to provide the offenders with skills local employers want or which could be transferred easily between jobs. Communications adviser Carolyn Murgatroyd said 13 young Timaru people had taken a seven-hour NZQA level two forklift driving course recently, and seven had learnt about using scaffolding over two days.
Probation officers could choose to send young offenders on the courses for 20 per cent of their community work sentence if it was longer than 80 hours.
Timaru service manager Murray McMurtrie said research indicated a "strong correlation between employment and reduced offending". "More than half of offenders on community sentences were unemployed, and many lack employable skills."
The programme was funded by the department's Regional Initiatives Fund.
- The Timaru Herald