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Becoming a prison officer: ‘Thinking about the impact I could have, I knew I had to apply...’

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Unlocked Graduates is a new leadership programme in the model of Teach First that works to get top graduates into prisons working as frontline prison officers for two years. Their first participants started at six prisons in the south east at the beginning of September, and Unlocked is now recruiting for 2018

Sabrina graduated with a BSc in Psychology from Aston University in July 2016. Here she tells us why Unlocked Graduates was the right choice for her next step, and why she’s so excited about beginning her career in the prison service...

Did you know what you wanted to do when you left university?

I wasn’t exactly sure what route I wanted to take after my degree, however I knew I wanted a role where I could be a source of support or mentor people who needed it and help change lives.

When did you realise Unlocked Graduates was the right choice for you?

I wanted a graduate scheme and I wanted to find one that would help me develop and gain additional qualifications. I came across the Unlocked Graduate programme, looked through it and automatically knew it was job I wanted.

I previously worked in a primary school for my placement year, and felt like the Unlocked Graduates scheme would be a very similar role, just with greater responsibilities and with adults as opposed to young children.

Was working in the prison service something you’d considered before?

I had never considered being a prison officer, but looking through the Unlocked website made me eager to become one. Thinking about the impact I could have, I knew I had to apply. I feel it’s vital to have a diverse workforce, and being a young black female myself, I know it isn’t always the easiest. However, I knew this role at Unlocked would enable me to be a role model.

Was there anything in your past that made you want to pursue this career area?

I haven’t had the easiest of upbringings; my mum was a single parent, unfortunately she died when I was 11 and then I went into local authority care.

I refused to allow my past experiences prevent me from reaching success, I didn’t want to be another statistic, I wanted to be an inspiration to others, to show them that they can achieve anything they desire despite any setbacks.

This leadership development programme at Unlocked will enable me to do this, whilst providing me with opportunities and qualifications to help me excel in my role.

What are your immediate hopes for your career?

I’m extremely excited to start my position this year, to motivate, encourage and support others whilst aiming to reduce rates of reoffending. I know the role will be challenging, but life isn’t easy, and I don’t think a job should be easy either.

As long as at least one person can say “Sabrina believed in me and helped me” then I’ve succeeded.

Interested? Unlocked Graduates is recruiting for its 2018 cohort at the moment. You can apply on their website

This article originally appeared on Bright Network.

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