Leadership Development Programme

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Graduate programme
London | North West | South East | West Midlands
Charity & Social Enterprise, Public Sector & Government

Unlocked Graduates is a two-year programme that is putting brilliant graduates and career changers at the heart of prison reform. At the moment, nearly half of all prisoners re-offend within a year of release, creating yet more victims, causing untold damage, and costing the UK more than £15bn. Our solution is a unique leadership programme where participants work as frontline prison officers while completing a fully-funded master’s degree in leadership. They support prisoners to turn their lives around, lead system change and develop the skills to excel no matter where they go in the future.

Programme overview

  • Two year leadership development programme to start your career.
  • Intensive initial training on a six week residential which will cover all elements of standard prison officer training as well as starting your Master’s studies. This will include shadowing in your prison.
  • Ongoing mentoring by an experienced prison officer who will support your continual professional development
  • Work placement opportunities with employers outside the prison sector e.g. KPMG, Ministry of Justice
  • Fully funded master’s degree in leadership and rehabilitation, taken alongside your full-time role as a prison officer
  • Opportunity to influence government by contributing to a policy paper which will be delivered to the Secretary of State
  • Onward career opportunities in a range of industries, including government and public policy, law, consultancy, and others

You will be part of a group of Unlocked officers within your assigned prison, working as full-time prison officers and benefitting from the guidance of a trained professional mentor, learning skills which can be transferred into leadership positions in any sector. You will work across prisons in the South East, North West and the Midlands, helping prisoners to make their experience in prison an effective exercise in rehabilitation.

When you’re working as a prison officer, no day is ever the same. Helping some of the most vulnerable and challenging people in society means always being prepared for new situations, and always ready to be an advocate, negotiator, diplomat and leader – all at the same time. You’ll develop your skills in leadership, communication, relationship-building, decision-making and resilience, and change lives while you do.

Following the two-year programme you’re free to decide whether to stay or leave the prison system. Either way, we’ll continue to support your development as part of a growing network of change-making alumni putting their new skills into action. Being a prison officer is about so much more than locking up – and with Unlocked Graduates, it can really open doors.

What's in it for you

The Unlocked two-year graduate Leadership Development Programme will give you exceptional communication, project management and leadership skills, enabling you to lead in any industry in your future career. Serving as a prison officer, you’ll build these skills through working with prisoners to identify and implement actions and strategies that will help them break the cycle of reoffending. You will also recieve:

  • A starting salary of up to £30,064 for a 37- hour week
  • During your second year on the programme you will have the opportunity to develop a consultancy paper on prison-wide policy. 
  • Accelerated leadership development training and be offered a fully funded master’s degree (PGDip at the end of year one)

Who we're looking for

Unlocked offers a world-class programme of accelerated leadership development training and experience that will help you to realise your potential and access influential roles across a variety of sectors. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to address a very significant problem for the UK as a whole, and delivering life-changing support to the individuals you work with.

But this is not an easy option. You’ll be working with demanding people in a challenging and sometimes pressured environment. You will have to confront issues that are unpalatable, and deal with people who may not conform to usual codes of behaviour.

To be successful in engaging prisoners and helping them to make the changes necessary to reintegrate with society, you will need a particular blend of attributes including resilience, relationship-building and motivation to change individual’s lives and wider society for the better.

You'll also need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Have, or be expecting to receive, at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree qualification by July 2018 or equivalent*
  • Grade C GCSE English and Maths
  • Have the right to work in the UK for the duration of the programme (26 months)

*If you have just missed this threshold, you are still welcome to apply but you must demonstrate a very high level of the personal attributes we are looking for. There is also space on the application form to state any extenuating or mitigating circumstances for your academic results.