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Providing unparalleled developmental opportunities for local students

At Serco, we encourage everyone to develop the skills and gain the experience to realise their full potential. We see our role as providing both the motivation and the means – inspiring appetite for growth, development and career progress through experience as well as more formal training. We help our colleagues to discover and define their ambitions whilst providing opportunities to make them happen. 

We also seek to develop strong partnerships with local and regional programmes for vocational education and training aligned to the work that we do, and with upcoming generations of talented individuals pursuing careers in our sectors. 

We recognise that our operational sites are the best environments in which to gain invaluable career experience, and we are proud to share them with the communities in which we operate, offering unparalleled developmental opportunities for local students taking their first steps into public service employment. 

Here we share two current examples from our Justice businesses in the UK and Australia. 

Prison Custody Officer (PCO) work experience placements for criminology students, UK

In what is believed to be the only partnership of its kind in the UK, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has placed up to six criminology students at HMP Lowdham each year for the last three years. 

In addition to more traditional PCO duties, participants are directly involved in delivering Serco’s approach to prisoner care and rehabilitation, such as working with prisoners to support pro-social attitudes, encouraging participation in work and education programmes, and key worker support sessions for prisoner welfare and safety. 

Paul Hamilton, Principal Lecturer at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, said: “We have a strong partnership with Serco at HMP Lowdham Grange. This is always a very challenging but rewarding year for our students. They’re expected to work as a permanent prison officer would, which is unique in terms of a placement opportunity.” 

One student from the 2021 cohort commented: “The highlights have been meeting so many people who are all different, including prisoners and staff. The staff were all so welcoming and had your back at all times. I have learned a lot about myself and working in a prison and have developed skills I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” 

All participants receive proper pay and training and gain their PCO certification while in placement. Part time work is offered on completion of the placement year, and one alumnus has already joined the team as a full time PCO. 

Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive, said: “I am very proud of this unique partnership and the work we are doing with NTU.” 

Prison-based training placements for public infrastructure students, Australia

Serco is proud to be hosting three female trainees at Clarence Correctional Centre (CLA) through the New South Wales Government’s new infrastructure traineeship programme. 

Since November 2021, the trainees have been gaining experience in a significant State infrastructure project developed through a Public Private Partnership. Serco’s service delivery at CLA provides the perfect platform for trainees to develop a rounded view of the infrastructure sector. 

For Serco, the traineeships are an opportunity to support the local community and young people in regional areas. 

“More than 65% of staff employed at CLA come from the Clarence Valley,” explains Tony Voss, General Manager, “and we are excited to be offering traineeships to local school leavers.” 

Designed around an eight-month rotation, the programme gives trainees exposure to the broader infrastructure industry, helping them to understand the important role each partner and organisation plays in the successful delivery of public infrastructure. 

“When we learned about this program, we immediately saw an opportunity to provide meaningful opportunities to up-skill young people,” says Tony. “Our trainees will be in office-based roles under the guidance of our Facilities Maintenance team who are responsible for maintaining the site that spans more than 195 hectares, with 65 buildings and a massive 200,000 fixed and loose assets.”