College students and inmates form business enterprise


A unique enterprise is bringing students from two very different schools together.

Five youth prisoners at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison are working with boys from St John’s College, Hastings, to complete Level 4 qualifications, and in doing so, have established a company.

For the last six months, the students from St John’s have made regular visits to the Tirohanga Unit inside the Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison meeting with their business partners, inmates aged between 17-19 years.

All students involved meet for lessons, with some further instruction work done via email in pursuit of credits for the New Zealand Institute of Management paper.

The Scheme requires students to form real businesses and sell real products and services to the market.

What resulted from the partnership is a company called BRUTHAS, through which the students work together to design, test, craft, market and sell ‘Just Boards’ – handcrafted bread boards.

The BRUTHAS is the brainchild of St John’s College student Jake Dunn.

Dunn said he came across the appalling fact that 80 per cent of young offenders reoffend.

“So I thought what better way to enter into the enterprise project than to have a product which lowers that statistic and brings the values from our school into it.”

The business venture is the first of its kind and has given a new perspective to the inmates on what their future could look like when they leave prison.

“I want to be a young entrepreneur. I’ll probably be the first one from my whānau so yeah that’s my ultimate goal,” says one of the inmates who is part of BRUTHAS.

St John’s College principal Paul Melloy is impressed with the joint project.

“I think the whole concept is outstanding – we’re very proud that the two groups of students can work together like this on an equal basis,” he says.

“A project like this ticks all our boxes – we’re fortunate that we’re able to do something like this, and the students involved are excited and proud too.”


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