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The Application Process

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Our selection process is designed to test your potential at being successful on our two-year Leadership Development Programme and driving social change in your future career. 


To get started, we ask for some basic details from you. This includes contact information and that you meet our minimum eligibility requirements. You also have the opportunity to provide information on any reasonable adjustments you may need throughout the process.

Test your Judgement Activity

Once you are registered, you can complete the first part of the process which offers a real insight into the job role of a prison officer and what life is like on the Unlocked Graduates programme.

There are a total of 13 fictitious scenarios that are based on real experiences of people on the programme and it will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. It does not require any preparation or knowledge of the prison system.

We know that a test can sound quite intimidating, but this is a real chance to get insight into what life is like on the programme. Each scenario is even animated to give you an engaging, visual guide of the situation.

We recommend that you complete the test in a quiet space where you can concentrate and make sure the sound is enabled on your device.

Please read the instructions carefully and make sure you indicate the action that you would most likely and least likely take in each situation. Remember, we are interested in your potential to be a great prison officer so go with your instinct. Once you have completed the activity, you will hear back from us within a week regarding the next stage of the process.

Video Interview

If you successfully pass the first stage you will be emailed a video interview link. This stage gives you an opportunity to demonstrate our key attributes and why you would be great on the programme. You will not speak with anyone directly; instead, you will answer pre-recorded questions from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you. You have seven days to complete this interview and it should take around 15 – 20 minutes. You can complete it on any desktop, tablet or mobile device.

When you click on the link to start the video interview you will watch an introductory video from some of our participants. You will then be talked through the process of setting up your device (desktop computer, tablet or phone) to complete the task, and you will have the chance to practice with the software before you begin.

Please take note of the guidance in the email you receive before completing the video interview. While answering the questions might seem uncomfortable at first, it’s a great opportunity to sell your skills in person and really demonstrate your motivation for the programme. We also run regular drop-in sessions where you can hints and tips from the recruitment team so do make the most of this – we know that people who attend these sessions are more likely to be successful.

If for any reason you are unable to access a video enabled device please contact so that we can arrange an alternative for you.

Assessment Centre

If your video interview is successful, you will be invited to a virtual assessment centre. These will run from November and you will be offered a number of dates to choose from.

The assessment centre will take approx. 3-4 hours. You will be evaluated according to the attributes by our team of trained assessors, including experienced prison officers and ex-prisoners. Throughout the day we will also be looking for evidence of your professional conduct and time management.

At the assessment centre you will complete a number of activities. These are designed to assess you against the attributes that we look for in candidates and also to give you an insight into the role of a prison officer and the Unlocked Graduates programme. You are not required to have any prior knowledge of the prison system in order to be successful at our assessment centre. Activities will include the following:

  • Interview: based around our attributes and some prison-based scenarios. You will normally be interviewed by a prison officer and an ex-prisoner.
  • Group Task:  in which you discuss a potential project or situation in a prison. You will normally be in a group of three to six people and read a brief beforehand.
  • Practice Scenario: with an actor playing the role of a prisoner and you acting as the prison officer. You will be briefed before beginning this activity on the situation and what is expected of you. There will also be a self-reflection element to this activity.

The assessment centre is the final stage of the process and you will find out within two weeks of attending if you have been successful.

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