- Rewarding work, helping prisoners gain skills they need to find employment after their release
- You'll need to be able to build relationships and gain trust, to deal with challenging behaviour and good judgement
- You could progress to senior or principal officer, or move into other areas of training or instructing
As a prison instructor, you'll be responsible for educating prisoners and giving them new skills to use on the outside, helping them find new jobs after their release.
- Finding out the skills and training needs of each prisoner
- Planning training sessions
- Preparing teaching materials
- Providing group or one-to-one instruction
- Updating prisoners' individualised learner records (ILRs)
- Supporting prisoners working towards qualifications
- Making sure prisoners are supervised at all times
- Keeping the working area safe
- Making sure tools and materials are counted to avoid security risks
- Searching prisoners (known as a 'rub down' or 'pat down')
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time, and physically and emotionally demanding.
To be a prison instructor, you'll need knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, to enjoy working with other people, customer service skills, sensitivity and understanding, excellent verbal communication skills, the ability to work well with others, and flexibility and openness to change.
You'll need to have, or be willing to work towards, a recognised teaching qualification that you can obtain at a college, such as a Level 3 Award or Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training, or a Level 5 Education and Training Diploma. You'll need access to 100 hours of teaching practice, as well as experience and a level 3 vocational qualification in your subject area or trade. You may also find it useful to do qualifications in assessment, like the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.
You can complete a higher learning and skills teaching higher apprenticeship. You'll need a qualification in the subject you want to teach. Employers will be looking for relevant up-to-date industry experience. You'll also need to show ability in English, maths and IT.
You'll need to meet the Prison Service entry requirements, which include nationality and security checks, as well as pass enhanced background checks.
With experience you could progress to senior or principal officer, or move into other areas of training or instructing.