About the PQIP training programme
When you start your training, you’ll be a probation services officer, learning on the job and studying to gain your fully funded Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP). After successfully completing the programme you’ll be able to apply to become a fully qualified probation officer and work with higher risk caseload of people on probation, along with opportunities to work in different settings, keep learning and developing through structured career paths.
As part of the Probation Service, we support people on their road to rehabilitation. It involves working closely with all kinds of people on probation, often with complex needs, including those who’ve committed violent and sexual offences or are struggling with their mental health or substance misuse. As a probation officer, you need to be resilient as this can often make their behaviour challenging. Not everyone is ready to change and you will experience setbacks. However, through our PQiP training programme, you will learn the tools needed to address such behaviours, engage with people and support them to make positive changes.
You’ll also work with victims of crime, colleagues across the criminal justice system, charities and the wider community.
The best way to train to be a probation officer is to mix theory with practice. Your training towards the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) involves time both in the classroom and working with people on probation. We also offer flexible working options, including remote working, to help with your work-life balance.
You will be allocated some study time towards the required learning components. However, please note that further study will need to be undertaken in your own time – and the number of hours varies depending on individual learning styles.
The PQiP programme takes 15 months if you have a level 5 (or equivalent) and have covered three of the following modules:
- The Criminal Justice System – this module will involve critically evaluating the idea of a joined up criminal justice system, and the place of the Probation Service. You’ll learn theoretical models and explore the trends and changes in the criminal justice system.
- Understanding Crime and Criminal Behaviour – you’ll learn the sociological and psychological theories relating to criminality. You’ll explore the concept of what we consider crime to be and the amount crime in society. You’ll learn about gang related crime, and theories surrounding the crimes of the poor and of the powerful.
- Penal Policy and Punishment – in this module, you’ll learn about philosophies of punishment and the use of prison and community-based punishments. You also explore the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda and the involvement of private and voluntary stakeholder in offender supervision and rehabilitation. You’ll also study other issues relating to punishment including the punishment of women and ethnic minority offenders.
- Rehabilitation – this module will involve the exploration of the definitions and approaches necessary to understand offender rehabilitation. This module includes a particular focus on the ‘What Works’ policy and the importance of research and policy.
Those with only three of the modules will be required to complete the fourth module within the first 6 months of the training programme. If your Level 5 (or equivalent) didn’t cover three of the above modules, the programme takes 21 months to complete.
When you complete the programme, you will gain a Professional Qualification in Probation.
This is a level 6 equivalent qualification, which is the combination of a Level 5 vocational qualification Diploma in Probation Practice and a Diploma of Community Justice.
As part of the programme, you’ll develop your practical and academic learning skills while you study. The academic study will include distance learning, and include online seminars, and masterclasses delivered by your probation region. More information on the learning outcomes of PQiP can be found below.
- Full-time course (37 hours per week) although there may be some part-time learning placements available in your region. Please note that for the part-time option there is a minimum hour’s requirement that learners will need to commit to weekly. Please note also that the 15/21-month programme lengths will take longer if undertaken on a part-time basis.
- Off-site classroom workshops and seminars
- Online workshops and seminars
- Support from an academic tutor
- Assessed through observations, professional discussions, witness testimonies and general competence
- Support from a line manager and an assessor
- Completed while part of a Probation Delivery Unit (PDU), prison establishment, court team.
- We will firstly teach you about the ethics, values and practices expected of Probation Officers. This will underpin and be referred to in all your other modules
- You will learn the critical analysis skills necessary to interpret complex information to make accurate and justifiable decisions, judgements and risk assessments.
- You will learn how to construct offender specific sentence plans and manage, implement and review interventions that will reduce the risk of harm and protect the public.
- You will develop the emotional intelligence, social and criminal psychological knowledge necessary to provide people on probation with an environment in which they can change. This will involve learning motivational interviewing as well as the ability to respond to the different needs of people on probation
- You will focus on offender rehabilitation; this will involve learning how to identify evidence-based interventions based on the offender’s needs.
- You will learn how to prepare well-argued and present reports to justify your decisions and make recommendations in court rooms and oral hearings.
You’ll be taught through online workshops and seminars by passionate tutors with frontline experience. You’ll learn through a combination of academic and practical learning, with access to online learning environments. You’ll learn how to apply you academic learning to practical decision making.
You’ll be assessed through a combination of exams, coursework observations, professional discussions, witness testimonies and general competence
You’ll be supported by an academic tutor and will have access to all the support services at the university you study at.
As a PQiP participant you’ll be able to enjoy the student experience at your university, with access to student facilities, activities and societies.
If you apply for North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, you will study at Sheffield Hallam University.
If you apply for North West, or Greater Manchester you will study at Liverpool John Moores.
If you apply for KSS, you’ll study at De Monfort University.
If you apply for East and West Midlands, London, East of England, South Central, South West or Wales, you will study at University of Portsmouth.
Prisons | Helping high risk offenders to change, and reduce the likelihood of reoffending or causing significant harm. Working with prison officers and community teams to assess risks and resettle offenders.
Courts | Preparing pre-sentence reports and giving advice in court on the risk of reoffending. This involves speaking with offenders, the police and other partner agencies.
Communities | Managing people on probation in receipt of community sentences or on licence from prison. Assessing risks and putting action plans in place while collaborating with agencies to tackle the causes of reoffending.
Once you have completed your PQiP, you will be able to apply for qualified probation officer positions. Please note, the recruitment process takes around 8-9 months. If it is not possible to place you into a suitable vacancy location due to insufficient vacancies, you will remain on the merit list and your application will be deferred to the next intake. Candidates are able to remain on the merit list for up to 12 months.
We welcome and encourage applications from everyone irrespective of background, identity, experience or circumstance, and particularly those underrepresented in our workforce. We strive for a workforce that is representative of our society and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice.
When people come to work for us we want them to feel safe and that they belong, are treated with empathy and respect, and have the support and solidarity of their colleagues and managers, so we can all deliver our services fairly and in response to individual needs. In joining us, you join an organisation which is committed to the values of humanity, openness, together and purpose.
Want to find out more? Watch our webinar with some of our trainee probation officers talking about their experiences of belonging in the Probation Service.
Find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
You will be supported every step of the way and although it might be challenging, your colleagues are always there to help you through.Simeon, probation services officer