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Be a future leader

We are looking for people who have a special talent helping young people, and can bring skills from studying and working in other areas.

Young people in custody are challenging, their needs are complex but they come with a lot of energy and potential.

Your experience and approach will mean that every interaction will have a greater impact and make a real difference to their daily lives.

Qualifications and experience

The fast-track programme helps you to make the most of your qualifications and experience and apply them to a unique challenge – helping change young people’s lives.

Minimum eligibility

You will need to hold a minimum of a level 4 equivalent qualification or above in one of the following subjects to be eligible for the fast-track programme:

  • youth justice, psychology, sociology, criminology
  • teaching and learning support, youth work, childcare and parenting services
  • social work – counselling, mental health, substance misuse, working with vulnerable people
  • probation practice
  • mental health, nursing and healthcare
  • coaching
  • therapeutic practice


It is also desirable if you have experience working with young people. You could have worked in a social, education or health setting. This could be as a volunteer.


As a youth justice worker specialist, you will play a key role in the Youth Custody’s team approach to working with young people.

You will be interested in ‘best practice’ developments and be expected to build effective working relationships with other professionals and specialists.

You will need good listening, consultation skills, confidence and the ability to think on your feet. You will:

  • provide emotional support to help young people settle, feel safe and calm
  • make difficult judgements to resolve issues and enforce rules
  • lead meetings and contribute insight into the causes of offending behaviour
  • create personalised rehabilitation plans to prepare for life upon release
  • work with education, health and psychology specialists to promote learning, training and progression
  • give mentoring and coaching to staff and colleagues

Pay and benefits

During the 15 month programme (13 months of training plus 2 months of accreditation), you will begin on a youth justice worker fast-track training salary.

You will start on a 37 hour contract until your initial POELT training is complete. After this you can choose to increase your hours to 39 or 41 hours a week.

Your pay depends on where you work and your weekly shift hours. You may also have opportunities to work additional paid hours.

HM YOI Feltham

Youth justice worker
(fast-track training)
Youth justice worker
37 hours £29,383* £29,383 to £33,624
39 hours £30,735*
41 hours £32,086*
* includes market supplement of £5,000

HM YOI Cookham Wood

Youth justice worker
(fast-track training)
Youth justice worker
37 hours £26,644* £26,644 to £30,581
39 hours £27,843*
41 hours £29,043*
* includes market supplement of £5,000

HM YOI Wetherby, HM YOI Werrington

Youth justice worker
(fast-track training)
Youth justice worker
37 hours £21,644 £21,644 to £30,581
39 hours £22,843
41 hours £24,043


  • 25 days of annual holiday (rising to 30 days after 10 years of service)
  • paid time off for public holidays and 1 extra privilege day
  • Civil Service pension of up to 20% of your salary
  • childcare vouchers, cycle to work scheme, travel loans and other benefits

Your professional journey


Your journey begins with a tailor-made Prison Officer Entry Level Training (POELT) course.

The 12 week course equips you with custodial care skills and specialist techniques to work and engage with young people.

Training takes place at the training college in Newbold Revel, near Rugby, Warwickshire, with visits to other sites to support learning and practical experience.

You will receive full pay and expenses.

Career progression and studies

During the fast-track programme, you will work as a youth justice worker and be fully funded to study towards a Foundation degree (level five qualification) in youth justice.

Youth justice worker

As part of your youth justice worker role, you will complete the first part of the degree – Module 1: Exploring Youth Justice and Module 2: Developing Practice Skills 1.

After you complete these two modules, you will be recommended to progress to a Band 4 Youth Justice Worker Specialist.

If you are unable to complete the fast-track programme, you will have the chance to move to a prison officer role working with adult offenders over 18.

Youth justice worker specialist

If you progress to the youth justice worker specialist role, you will have the opportunity to continue your studies and complete the full foundation degree in youth justice.

The study of the second half of the foundation degree – Module 3: Effective practice in youth justice and Module 4: Developing practice skills 2 – will be fully funded and supported by your youth custody location.

You will have opportunities to combine your level 5 learning with moving through career pathways to become a leader within the Youth Custody Service.