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How to apply

Check if you’re eligible

To become a prison caterer, you need to:

  • be 18 years or over
  • have the right to work in the UK and the Civil Service (GOV.UK, opens in a new tab)
  • speak fluent English, or Welsh in Wales where specified in the job ad

For roles in the high security prisons, you must have been a resident in the UK for the last 3 years.

The application process

The application process takes up to 3 months to complete, from starting your application to your first day on the job.

How long it takes depends on how quickly we can arrange your interview and how long your pre-employment checks take.

Apply online

As part of your application, you’ll need to:

  • tell us about your previous catering roles or college course
  • provide details of your catering qualifications
  • give real-life examples that show you can demonstrate the behaviours needed to be successful in the role
  • detail your employment history, relevant experience, skills and achievements

Attend an interview

If your online application is successful, you will be invited to attend an interview. It will be an opportunity to tell us more about yourself, your work history, and personal experiences. This will help us get to know you better and assess if you are suited to the role.

We will use the Civil Service Success Profiles framework (GOV.UK, opens in a new tab) in your interview. This will assess the following:

Developing self and otherthat you take time to coach, mentor and develop others, as well as reflecting on your own work and continuously seeking and acting on feedback.
Managing a quality servicethat you take pride in yourself and your work, and demonstrate a strong work ethic. You manage your own time, quickly adapting to changing circumstances while adhering to processes and rules.
Making effective decisionsthat you understand your own level of responsibility and make decisions where appropriate, consulting with others to ensure potential impacts are considered.
Working together that you are a team player who develops good working relationships and are a positive and supportive team member

For the catering supervisor role, you will also be assessed on:

Leadershipthat you ensure those you work for you have a clear understanding of their tasks and timeframes. That you take into account individual needs and consider the impact of your and your team’s actions on others.

In your interview, we’ll also assess your ability to speak and understand English. This is a government requirement in public-facing roles such as this where you’ll be engaging with prisoners and other people.

Complete your pre-employment checks

If you are successful at interview, we’ll start your pre-employment checks. These will include security, identity and past-employment checks.

Get an offer and arrange your start date

Once you have received your provisional offer and passed your pre-employment checks, we’ll email you to arrange when you can start your new catering role.

Find your prison catering job

Want to be part of a catering team that makes an impact far beyond the kitchen? Our prison caterers are people just like you.

Search jobs and apply

Tips for applying

You’ll need to provide an anonymised (also known as ‘name-blind’) CV and answer questions that outline your past experience. 

You’ll also need to answer questions about how you would react in your job, giving real-life examples. 

Anonymised CV

Your CV should include your employment history, relevant experience, skills and key achievements. It’s important you do not include the following information that could identify you:

  • name and title
  • names of educational institutions
  • age and gender
  • email address
  • postal address and telephone number
  • nationality and immigration status

This will help ensure we make decisions based on your knowledge and skills, rather than your background, gender or ethnicity.

Real-life example questions

We want to hear real-life examples of how you’d react in a particular situation. They do not necessarily need to be work related.

Remember to be specific and write about actions and activities you have done in the past. You must keep within the word limit. Your goal is to write short but detailed examples. You may find using bullet points helps.

We recommend using the STAR method when writing your example.

SituationWhat was the situation you found yourself in?
TaskBuild your answer by explaining the task you had to complete and why you had to complete it. You only need to provide an overview.
ActionWhat did you do to resolve the issue or situation? Try to add in actions you specifically took to complete your task and why you took this approach, rather than stating what others did.
ResultBriefly explain the results of the actions you took, what impact they had on the situation and how you knew whether they worked.

Take some time to read through your examples, checking you have explained clearly what you did. You may find it helpful to ask someone else to read them too.