Prison & Probation Service is hiring hundreds of new prison officers


COULD this be the ultimate lockdown career? 

Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service is hiring hundreds of new prison officers as jails seek a more diverse workforce.

Prison Officer Hale says her job is ‘hugely rewarding’

The trainees will be encouraged to help transform offenders’ lives and improve their job prospects on release. 

And it isn’t just the Prison Service guiding ex-offenders on to new career paths. Many big-name firms are stepping up their efforts to hire former prisoners. Here we showcase opportunities for both.


YOU don’t need set qualifications but you do need great com­m­unication and teamwork skills, and to be an effective decision maker. You must also be over 18. 

All training is provided and salaries start at £23,529. Prison Officer Hale took her job at HMP Exeter to help change lives.

The 30-year-old said: “As a child I wanted to be in the police, but I never expected to work on the other end of the chain in a prison.

“As a keyworker, I spend time with prisoners in education, helping them identify how to move forward and tackle their issues, or trying to change their negative perceptions of life. 

“It’s hugely rewarding when you see that moment where you know it’s all sinking in. That’s why I get up every morning.”

Apply at:


HALFORDS is one of the UK’s top employers for former prisoners. The forward-thinking firm has even set up an academy at Drake Hall prison in Staffs, to train inmates as cycle technicians. The company has 135 shop vacancies and a further 230 in its Autocentres business.

One graduate of the Drake Hall Academy is Claire Jones. She trained on the scheme while serving a ten-month sentence for fraud, but now works as a bike specialist at Halfords’ Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol.

Halfords trains inmates as cycle technicians

The course can take two years to complete but Claire, 32, passed in just three months. 

She said: “Falling in with the wrong crowd at the wrong time led me to prison. When my release date drew near, I didn’t know how I was going to put a roof over my head or food on the table. 

“Then I heard about the Halfords Academy. My release date was looming, so I just had to cram it in, studying six hours a day, five days a week.

“I’d like to progress to duty manager, then assistant manager and eventually store manager.”

Apply at


ST JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL in Newport, South Wales is recruiting for 50 new roles including nurses, theatre practitioners, administrators, housekeepers and healthcare assistants. Apply at stjosephs

Build a future

DIY giant Wickes has opened up its retail apprenticeship to external applicants for the first time. 

There are 48 positions on the top-rated course for trainees to gain a nationally recognised Level 2 Apprenticeship in Retail.

All training will be carried out virtually due to Covid measures.

Sonia Astill, Wickes’ chief people officer, said: “We’ve worked hard to extend our apprenticeship scheme externally and create a training programme that is unique to the brand. 

“We hope this move will help offer job opportunities and ­training to those looking for their next step.”

Apply to start in January at

Julie’s bearing up

THOUSANDS of jobless people have set up their own firms through the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance.

The scheme offers budding entrepreneurs a mentor, weekly living allowance and up to £25,000 in backing. 

Julie Britton’s firm crafts teddies from recycled fabrics

More than 215,000 jobseekers have become their own boss since the scheme launched in April 2011. 

Among them is Julie Britton, 54, who launched Britton’s Bears, crafting teddies from recycled fabrics. Julie,of Winstanley, Manchester, said: “We don’t know what the future will bring but my ­ little business is now established and will definitely carry me into the new year.”

Employment Minister Mims Davies said: “In the run-up to Christmas it’s great to see people make a success of their job search.”



OUTDOOR education provider Kingswood is taking on 100 apprentices. Find out more at

Give ’em morale support

WITH end-of-year targets looming and fewer days to get the work done, December is a stressful month. 

But how do you motivate staff when you can’t hold a traditional Christmas party?

Gillian McAteer, head of employment law at HR firm Citation, shares her tips.

  1. Recognise exceptional work. It’s often the little things that mean the most, so let your staff know they are valued with kind gestures. These can be as simple as saying thank you, or sending out Christmas treats for remote workers.
  2. Host a virtual party. Pin down a date and time to meet on Zoom for fun and games. Give staff a budget they can spend on nibbles and drink to bring with them.
  1. Give your team a day off to volunteer in the community. Christmas is the season of goodwill so encourage staff to take time out to help others.
  2. Allow flexibility in working hours. The festive season is an extremely busy, often stressful period, so let staff work when it suits them, as long as they complete what needs to be done.
  3. Have virtual get-togethers for a coffee, mince pie and non-work-related chat. The mental wellbeing of your staff is important, so encourage them to get together virtually, once or twice a week, for a catch-up during working hours. One rule – work talk is banned.

GOT a story? RING HOAR on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

Did you miss our previous article…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here