Frequently asked questions
Please see a list of questions we regularly get asked, hopefully you will find the answer below, if not please email our recruitment team and we will be in touch as soon as possible.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
As a minimum you will have to be 18 to apply for a Prison Custody Officer role, if you are not 18 there are other roles that could be available to you.
What qualifications do I need?
Maths and English at a minimum key skills level 2 or equivalent.
What experience do I need to have?
Our Prison Custody Officers come from very diverse backgrounds. It is more important for you to have the right people skills including excellent verbal and written communication, ability to exercise authority as well as maintaining your integrity and professionalism in a variety of challenging situations. Fantastic observation skills is a must!
Will I need to work shifts?
Yes, each establishment operates various shift patterns which will include early / lates / days / evenings and night shifts.
How will I prove my right work in the UK?
You will need to have a valid passport or birth certificate together with a valid permit or visa, if applicable, which shows your right to live and remain in the UK.
What do I wear to the assessment centre?
If you’re on a morning session, then please arrive in smart business-wear and bring a change of clothes for the fitness testing. If you’re on an afternoon session, then please arrive in fitness-wear and bring a change of clothes for the interview.
Please note, this will differ for HMP Thameside and HMP Kilmarnock.
Will I have opportunity to develop my career?
Within our custodial establishments there is career progression, if you wish to continue with you PCO career you can move in to a management role you can become a Custodial Operations Manager and then Assistant Director and Deputy Director. There are also other departments within the custodial establishments that you can move in to such as; psychology, industries, education and security.
As a large organisation we do have various roles available both within the Justice and Immigration Sector and broader Serco Group.
Will I be required to wear a uniform?
Yes, this will be provided for you during your Initial Training Course.
Will I get operational support once I have finished the ITC?
You will be assigned a buddy during your first few weeks.
If I am added into a talent pool, how long can I expect to wait for the next training place?
This can vary depending on the establishment, but if you are added in to the talent pool you will have regular contact with the talent specialist where they will provide updates and provisional start dates.
When starting the ITC, do I have to have 100% attendance in order to pass the course?
The Initial Training Course (ITC) is an 8 - 9 week intensive training course during which 100% attendance is mandatory. If you have holiday booked during this time period and you are not able to re arrange, we will invite you to the next available course.
Will I get paid during the ITC?
Yes, you will be paid. When you start the ITC this is the first day of your employment with Serco.
Why do I have to do fitness tests?
The reason that you have to successfully pass the fitness tests is because being a PCO can be physically demanding, and we need to ensure you have a level of fitness to respond to any emergency situations that may arise.
Where will the ITC be held?
The ITC will be held at the establishment you have been successful at – there won’t be any requirement to stay away from home.