Trade School Industries Trust trains and provides employment to people with a prison past and a bright hospitality future.


Meet our team


Lauren Tennent

Lauren began working with Peoples Coffee in 2013 and soon after launched the Arohata Project. Lauren developed the programme while working as head trainer over the course of two years. She now uses this experience to help with the startup of the Trust in the role of Program Manager. Lauren has a degree in criminology and psychology as well as 9 years experience in the hospitality industry.


The Trust


Trade School cafe is a social enterprise venture funded by the Trade School Industries Trust. The trust was set up in 2016 with the aim of creating employment opportunities for the ex-incarcerated. Paid work acts as a base to rebuild their lives, help people become meaningful contributors to their community, and ultimately become their best selves.

We do this by developing businesses that offer meaningful and gainful work, and by networking with other businesses to create work placements. We start with opening café in the fledgling town centre of Naenae in which we place baristas we have trained while in prison. A job in a place they have lived and have family or other support connections.

We work with the understanding that on any given day, staying out of court and prison is 80% employment, and 20% social support. We partner with business owners, social workers, case managers, literacy educators, psychologists, doctors, whanau and a host of best-in-field practitioners to support our people giving them the greatest chance of turning their lives around.


Meet the Trusties


Matt Lamason

Matt is the founder and owner of Peoples Coffee - a fair trade organic coffee roasting, retail and wholesale business supporting and championing small coffee producers around the globe. After 12 years in the coffee industry Matt has passed the management of Peoples to more capable staff and is enjoying creating new start up projects. He is currently the founding chair of Trade School Industries Trust - a business and a therapeutic community giving ex prisoners the chance to turn their lives around through the hospitality trade.


Martin Bosley

Martin Bosley is one of New Zealand’s finest chefs. He has worked in and owned a number of award-winning restaurants and now has his own range of food products called Bosley's Pantry. Martin’s involvement in the Trust stems from his long-term work in this area with inmates from Rimutaka prison. Martin has proven employment pathways can be created from behind the wire with the interventions we are proposing.

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Alison Robinson

Alison is a chaplain at Rimutaka Men’s prison and a community worker in Naenae. She has spent most of her adult life supporting a myriad of marginalized peoples from the migrant and refugee communities of Wellington to recently released and paroled men coming out of prison. Alison’s exhaustive experience working with traumatized people has made her a very caring yet firmly grounded person who deeply understands the complexities of people with very challenging stories.


Paul  Soong

Paul is an entrepreneur with a track record of helping people into employment. In 2000 he started the world's first design agency that bridged the gap between education and employment, called The Church. The company helped over 40 'young creatives' become attractive to employers so they could start their first job. In 2014 The Church was acquired by Designworks NZ Ltd. Paul worked at Designworks for one year before moving to Careers New Zealand where he continues to seek ways to support people into employment.