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Our Process

Our Process

If you would like to pursue a career as a Prison Custody Officer you will go through the following recruitment and training journey.

The initial recruitment process, which includes application, online tests, telephone interview and assessment day will only take approximately 4 weeks. If successful you will be required to go through strict security and vetting checks which will allow you to work in this secure environment. The checks are conducted via the Home Office and can up to 6 weeks to provide the outcome of your application.

Once you have successfully obtained your security and vetting clearance you will then start your employment with Serco and HMP. During the first 8 weeks of your employment you will go through an Initial Training Course which will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for this role, before you go in to your operational position.  

The overall process normally takes approximately 18-20 weeks.

1. Application

Select the PCO role you are interested in from the latest opportunities on the right – apply and confirm your right to work status.

2. Online Assessment and Telephone Interview

Your application will be reviewed by one of our Talent Specialists. If you meet the criteria as set out in the advert you will be invited to complete online Maths and English tests.

If you pass the Maths and English tests you will be invited to a telephone interview with one of the Talent Specialists where they will review your application and motivations for this position. If successful you will be invited to attend an assessment centre which will be held at the establishment you have applied to.

3. Fitness Testing and Assessment Day

The assessment day will usually take about 3 - 4 hours. During this time you will get a chance to meet the management team from the establishment and find out more about the prison and the role of a Prison Custody Officer. The assessments will include a competency based interview and a fitness test which will include a bleep and agility test.

There will also be time for you to complete your security and vetting forms which will be used to obtain your clearance.

Please note, HMP Thameside and HMP Kilmarnock hold the fitness testing and interview on separate days.

4. Provisional Offer and Vetting

If you are successful following the assessments, one of our Talent Specialists will call you to make you an offer. If you verbally accept at this point we will get a formal offer of employment to you.

If there are no immediate roles available, we will put you in to our talent pool until the next opportunity arises.

5. Onboarding

The time it takes to complete your vetting varies depending on your work history and where you have lived. Whilst we are waiting for your clearance, one of the Talent Acquisition Specialists will be in touch to let you know next steps and be on hand to ask any questions you may have. We will also put you in touch with the local vetting contact who can further support you through the process.

6. Training Centre

Prison Custody Officer training takes 8 - 9 weeks and you will be offered the next place, subject to clearance. The training consists of both classroom learning and on-the job shadowing and at the end of the training you will take some tests to ensure you are competent to become a Prison Custody Officer.