Employee stories

By training to become a Probation Officer…

There are many reasons why a career as a Probation Officer can be rewarding. We asked some of our current and former trainees what joining the service has helped them to achieve.

Venetia
Probation Officer
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… I’ve turned a life-long interest into a career

A criminal justice career was always Venetia’s end goal. But while her academic studies gave her a great grounding, it’s her people skills that really stand out.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“Someone who enjoys working with different people, who likes the idea of facilitating change.”

Tony
Current PQiP Learner
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… I’m helping to keep the public safe

Tony always felt he could play a major role in protecting the public as well as help offender. And he’s seen how his work’s made a difference. 

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“As well as being analytical, understanding and a good people person, you do need to be able to do administrative work."

Daniel
Probation Officer
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…I’ve built up professional experience

Daniel’s tackled a number of placements within the service – broadening both his professional horizons and personal skills.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“You have to be completely non-judgemental. You need to remember that the people you’re working with may feel ashamed or embarrassed.”

Kerry
Senior Probation Officer
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…I’ve found my ability to lead

After starting her probation career in prisons, Kerry’s moved into a managerial position that allows her to develop new skills.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“It’s important that we make service users feel comfortable, so being approachable and understanding the situations they’re in is really important.”

Nicola
Senior Probation Officer
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…I’ve created positive change

Nicky’s encouraged and embraced change – for the people she works with, and her own professional development.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“To be good at this job you have to be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see it from their viewpoint.” 

Roy
Probation Services Officer
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…I’ve discovered new opportunities

Roy found his interest in people made him a great fit here as a Probation Services Officer. He’s now applied to do the PQiP programme. 

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“It’s important that you can set aside emotions when facing setbacks. Remember, it's not personal.”

Daniel
Probation Officer
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…I’ve taken my skills in a new direction

Daniel originally intended to use his sociology degree to become a teacher. But instead he chose to help our service users.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“Always learning – whether it’s about yourself in your interactions, or in the research that impacts the way you work.”

Harvey
Probation Officer
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… I’m putting theory into practice

Harvey’s training gave him all the tools to be a great Probation Officer. Now he’s applying it to make a real difference in offenders’ lives.

What makes a good Probation Officer?

“Teamwork is really important in this role. You get a lot of help and support from your team and they'll often help you out.”

Read about Joe’s week

After a Criminology degree and Master’s in Criminology and Criminal justice, Joe’s now halfway through the PQiP programme.

“16 of us started together. We’re all based at different offices over London, but see each other at least once a week for training.

“The working hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. But there will be times when you need to do some late-night reporting.”

Monday – probation office
Being at my local probation office is my most ‘typical’ day – also the busiest. I have appointments with offenders, where we make timelines and talk about the events that led them to where they are today. And we also create mind maps to help them think up solutions to problems.

Tuesday – university masterclass
Classes last all day and are really enjoyable. The theory that underpins probation practice is very motivating. The majority of the study’s online – with a masterclass at the University.

Wednesday – prison visit
I tour a prison, talking to staff and getting to know an offender due for release. I’ll be working closely with him when he’s out, so it’s important he knows who I am and how it all works. We discuss the courses he’s studied in custody which will help him on release.

Thursday – training at head office
Recently, training’s covered things like parole, working with sex offenders and offender assessments. Once a month, we also do peer-group learning where trainees lead the session and learn from each other. Today, though, we hear from someone from the drugs charity we work with, and one of the trainees discusses a case with the group.

Friday – probation office
Back at the office in the morning, before an afternoon home visit with an offender and their family, to see how they’re getting on.

Read about Vivian's day

After studying Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vivian qualified as a Probation Officer in February 2018.

6.00am
I’m an early bird, and can wear what I want to work. But I usually get my clothes ready the night before to make the morning easier.

7.00am
I’m in the office, so I get public transport to work. About once every fortnight, when I might be doing a home or prison visit, I’m more likely to drive.

8.15am
My hours are flexible and I tend to start a bit earlier than other people. First, I check my emails and, since I have time before my first appointment, I start typing up case notes and work on an assessment.

9.00am
I have supervision sessions with ex-offenders throughout the day. Most last around 20-25 minutes, and involve going through targeted worksheets that address offending behaviour, and helping service users sort out life admin.

12.45pm
Every week, all nine Probation Officers have an informal 15-minute progress meeting with our manager. We discuss what we’re up to, and report on targeted deadlines and outstanding actions.

1.00pm
I bring my lunch to work, and eat at my desk.

2.00pm
As well as more appointments, I chase things up and make referrals for things like housing.

3.30pm
Some days I’ll have a three-way meeting with a service user and someone from another agency – like social services or a drug charity. We’ll chat through the service user’s progress and the steps needed to move forward.

5.00pm
I usually leave work on time.

6.00pm
When I get home I like to watch TV with my family, or I might go out to eat with a friend. You have to take care of yourself, if you’re going to take care of others!

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