An opportunity to grow and gain experience

October 28, 2020
  • People and community

Richard Old is a Supervisor on the Waikeria Prison Development Project, a major investment in New Zealand, with a focus on rehabilitation. Richard took some time out to talk about the project, its people and how he’s enjoying being part of the CPB Contractors team.

Working on the project

The opportunity to work on this project is something I’m so grateful for. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the news that I’d be part of the team and contributing to something that would have long lasting benefits for our country.

Waikeria is remote, two hours south of Auckland, so my wife and I packed up and took the opportunity to live a different lifestyle for the duration of the project.

After one year with CPB Contractors on this project, I think my personal growth has been phenomenal. I’m much more tech savvy than before, my confidence has grown, and I know I play a big part in keeping everyone working in a happy environment – and that means we’re working safely too.

At the end of the day it’s up to you what you get out of it – you get back what you put in, and I’m willing to put in 110% every day with this team, our subbies and our Department of Corrections teams.

The team

We’ve got people from all over and we’ve made big and small sacrifices to be here. There’s about 27 different nationalities working on the project and because of COVID-19 some haven’t seen their families for extended periods of time. We make sure we keep this in mind and support one another both on and off site.

When we’re working, we look out for each other and we’re proactive about solving problems – our goal is to make sure there are no surprises.

People leave the Waikeria Prison site at the end of the day with a smile on their face.

Working on this project is the best experience – I’m happy knowing I’ve got a future with CPB Contractors working on big projects, so I can keep learning and growing as a person.

Working with the prisoners on site

It is so important to show respect and thank the team who run our cafeteria and our Release to Work site participants. The smallest things can make such a difference to someone’s day, week or month. Saying thank you to someone who’s never been treated kindly goes a long way and seeing the change in these guys has been amazing.

I hope to hear positive stories in the future about the Release to Work participants I’m working with. It will be great to know I played a small part in their journey. Then, I’ll know I’ve done my job as part of this project community.

The Release to Work programme is run by the NZ Department of Corrections and helps those participating to re-engage, gain work skills and helps set them up for parole.

Building a world class facility

This prison is the first of its kind in New Zealand, a 600-bed high-security prison with 100 beds in a purpose-built Mental Health and Addiction Service Facility. The site is 21 hectares, includes 29 new buildings and will feature more spaces for whānau interaction than any other New Zealand prison. It will be the first in Aotearoato provide mental health and addiction services.

Richard Old
Richard Old
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