faYou must be a UK National, a Commonwealth Citizen, a British Protected Person or a national of the European Economic Area. For some posts you must have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years.
For entry you need 5 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. You may be able to apply without qualifications if you have experience of working with people in paid or voluntary work.
You must be aged over 18 to apply.
Check the Scottish Prison Service website for vacancies.
Apply direct using the online application procedure.
If your application meets the required standard you will be invited to attend a testing and awareness session which includes numerical and verbal reasoning tests and an application form assessment.
If you pass this stage you are invited to an assessment day which involves a competency based interview and fitness test.
SPS then expect successful candidates to go through pre-employment checks which include character and employer references and a medical examination, including substance misuse testing.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of course. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
As a new officer in Scotland, you will spend one week in the prison where you work, followed by a 7-week Officer Foundation Programme at the Scottish Prison Service College, Polmont, near Falkirk.
You will be on probation for 12 months.
You then return to the prison to continue with work based learning, gain experience and complete assessments for Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Custodial Care at SCQF Level 7.
You would be expected to complete the SVQ within 2 years of joining the service.
There is a set promotion structure within the SPS.
You start as an operations officer and after completing the SVQ in Custodial Care at SCQF Level 7 you can apply to become a residential officer or officer instructor/vocational training instructor, or a first line manager.
A residential officer works within the residential areas of the prison, and works in partnership with external agencies to support those in their care, become more responsible citizens.
Officer instructor/vocational training officers develop the knowledge and skills of offenders in particular crafts or disciplines, such as painting and decorating, joinery, catering, plumbing, bicycle maintenance, hairdressing and IT skills.
For an officer instructor role you need to be fully qualified in the relevant trade and have or be willing to work towards an Assessor Award.
With experience and ability you may be able to progress to middle or senior management positions such as unit manager or governor. See the Prison Governor job profile.
For promotion, you may have to do further training and assessment. You may get this training through the SPS or through courses offered by other agencies.
It is helpful if you are willing to move to gain promotion.
The Scottish Prison Service:
has 13 publicly managed prisons and 2 privately managed prisons
employs over 4,000 staff, including just over 1,100 female officers
deals with an average daily prison population of around 8,000.
In Scotland, all prisons, including privately managed prisons, are part of the SPS estate so all prisoners are in government care.