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Life in an education, skills and work role

HMPPS education, skills and work staff work in a range of settings in prisons, including onsite workshops, classrooms, onsite employment hubs and offices. What connects them is their focus on supporting prisoners to reduce their risk of reoffending by:

  • studying for educational or vocational qualifications
  • working in an onsite prison workshop or finding a paid job for when they leave prison
  • learning new skills to better prepare them for life after custody

Working pattern

In each of these roles, you will generally work a 37 hour week, Monday to Friday.

Part-time and flexible working hours maybe be available for some roles. You will need to discuss this at interview and agree working patterns with your line manager once you start.

What’s it like working as an instructor?

You will supervise prisoners in the workshop, mentor, coach and support prisoners to earn industry recognised qualifications and manage production costs, quality and production timescales. 

Production instructor (Band 3)

Production instructors work in workshops that either make particular products for prisons, such as breakfast packs for prisoners; or provide products and services for external organisations, such as packing greeting cards.

You will:  

– supervise groups of prisoners in a workshop
– set work schedules and ensure delivery targets are met
– support and encourage prisoners to complete tasks
– ensure quality standards are met

Vocational instructional officers (Band 4)

You will run workshops that focus on prisoners learning new vocational skills ‘on the job’. The workshops differ from prison to prison and include a range of vocational jobs such as cycle repair, vehicle maintenance, bricklaying and painting and decorating.  

You will set work schedules and manage delivery targets and quality standards; supervise prisoners as they complete the tasks they’re assigned; deliver vocational qualifications and assess prisoners’ progress against these.

Specialist production instructors (Band 4)

Specialist production instructors work in workshops which differ from prison to prison, but may include the following specialisms:  

– engineering
– horticulture
– printing
– textiles
– waste management
– woodwork

Read our blog post to see what it’s like working as a specialist production instructor in a prison print workshop.

What’s it like working in education, skills and work strategy and implementation roles?

In these roles, you will play your part in ensuring prisoners have access to a range of opportunities to engage in education and work opportunities while in prison.

Learning and skills manager (Band 6)

In this role, you will lead on the prison’s implementation of the education curriculum. This will include working with other departments and partnership agencies, plus prisoners, to drive engagement in ESW interventions.

You will also:

– manage procurement of ESW interventions
– be responsible for quality assurance
– drive continuous improvement

Head of education, skills and work (Band 7)

This is a position for a qualified teaching professional.

As a member of a prison’s senior leadership team you will be responsible for building a learning culture, with a focus on increasing:

– prisoners’ numeracy and literacy
– the number of prisoners gaining qualifications
– prisoners’ prospects of finding work

This will involve working with a range of stakeholders, including the prison’s education provider, onsite workshop leads and local employers and organisations that employ prison leavers.

ID and banking administrator (Band 3)

You will provide administrative support to help prisoners prepare to start paid work when they leave prison.

This will include helping match prisoners to job opportunities, supporting them to arrange the documents they need for paid work in the community and helping individuals prepare for Release on Temporary Licence work placements.

Neurodiversity support manager (Band 6)

You will be responsible for implementing a prison-wide approach to supporting prisoners’ neurodivergent needs.

You will focus on introducing improved processes to identify and support neurodivergent prisoners’ needs, including delivering staff training. This will involve sharing relevant information with colleagues, ensuring reasonable adjustments are made to help develop a more neurodivergent supportive environment and identifying any additional needs individuals may have when they are preparing to leave prison.

You will also help ensure prisoners can access the education, skills and work opportunities that are available in their prison, including specialist or targeted support where appropriate, practical and reasonable.

Prison employment lead (Band 6)

As an employment lead, you will identify prisoners who are sufficiently prepared practically and mentally, to support them to apply for jobs.

You will be responsible for sharing relevant job opportunities. Plus, you will work with individuals to ensure they have the relevant training or accreditations they need for industry-specific jobs.

Industries manager (Band 6) 

As a prison industries manager, you will ensure the prison workshops run smoothly, overseeing all the workshop activities and that they provide purposeful work for prisoners. This will include monitoring performance and budgets, and ensuring production meets contractual requirements.
You will manage, supervise, and motivate staff and prisoners in the workshops, ensuring work complies with health and safety legislation and quality management standards.