The Corrections Department says a new trades facility at Christchurch men's prison will train inmates to help rebuild the city.
The complex will offer workshops in plumbing, roofing and drainlaying and other trades where there is a shortage of trained people.
The courses will be run by the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and up to 130 prisoners will attend each year.
Eligible inmates include those coming to the end of their sentences who have already completed rehabilitation programmes.
Prisoners must also show a willingness to take part in the city's rebuild.
Those who complete the courses will gain a level 2 National Certificate in their trade.
The Department says released prisoners who have jobs are less likely to reoffend and the scheme also offers inmates a chance to give something back to their community.