Prison officer listed as top graduate job for the first-time

Prison officer listed as top graduate job for the first-time

++ Graduate scheme puts prison officer job at number 49 on the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers ++

++ Thousands compete for elite prison officer scheme ++


Award-winning graduate scheme Unlocked Graduates was named one of the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers today, beating out top banks, high profile law firms and prestigious employers including Facebook and MI5 as a sought after career.

The programme is the highest new entry for 2019 and is the first time the role of prison officer has ever been included in this prestigious ranking.

Since its launch in 2016 over 10,000 students and graduates have registered their interest in the ground-breaking programme and 55 per cent of the successful applicants have come from Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. The programme has placed 250 new officers in some of England’s most challenging prisons and is shifting public opinion of the role particularly amongst ambitious graduates wanting to promote change within the prison service.

This year, over 1,500 graduates competed for just 100 places on the programme with over 5,400 registering their interest.

New Unlocked officer Elden, who studied at the University of Birmingham, and who started work as a prison officer last week, said:

“Becoming a prison officer was never on my agenda, but I knew I wanted a challenge and a chance to do something real. People just don’t realise what an incredibly varied role prison officer is – training has included everything from first aid and firefighting to de-escalation and understanding the social drivers behind criminal behaviour.  I’ll be on the landing in a few weeks with real responsibility. It’s not many jobs that have such amazing variety.”

During their time on this two-year programme, participants complete a Master’s degree while working as frontline prison officers. They are challenged to develop new ideas and drive innovations designed to reduce rates of reoffending. They are selected on the basis of not only their academic credentials, but also their leadership and communications skills. Existing prison officers act as mentors for the participants.

Unlocked officers currently work in 18 prisons across London, the South East and North West and are looking to expand in to the West Midlands in 2019.

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer MP said:

“We want to broaden the range of people who consider becoming a prison officer and attract a wide range of talent to the prison service, so I am delighted to see that Unlocked has been named as one of the top 100 graduate employers.

“Prison officers do a vital job, in often challenging circumstances, and I want to thank the Unlocked graduates for their work protecting the public, reducing reoffending and rehabilitating offenders.”

Natasha Porter CEO of Unlocked said:

“Being included in The Times Top 100 Graduate employers is an incredible accolade and we are so proud of everything we have achieved in such a short space of time. Three years ago, the role of a prison officer wasn’t something most graduates even considered, but interest in the programme has grown enormously and this year we had 15 applications for every place offered. Our participants show an incredible enthusiasm for promoting positive change within the sector and we can’t wait to go onto see what they achieve.”

Applications are now open to join the programme in 2020 are now open. Find out more here.