The role of a Prison Officer is a complex and challenging one, demanding recruits undergo rigorous training. In order for them to have the desired impact within their role they require the skills for management of not only the safety and security of prisoners, and the custody and detention environment, but also the expertise needed to support vulnerable individuals and a culture that facilitates the rehabilitation of offenders

To ensure that such training is delivered and assessed to a consistent standard, in 2015 SFJ Awards Level 3 Diploma in the Management and Care of Individuals in Custodial Environments, was developed with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), an agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). This regulated qualification has since been awarded to 11,078 Prison Officers, providing clear and quality assured recognition of their knowledge, understanding and skills, and giving employers and the public confidence in the quality and value of the training received.

With the introduction of the new Custody and Detention apprenticeship in England in 2018, it was timely to review the qualification and bring it up to date to align with this new standard. Furthermore, to provide a consistent level of training across England and Wales, the new qualification will also be included on the new Custody and Detention apprenticeship framework in Wales.

Rachel Henson, Talent and Capability Consultant, Apprenticeships Team, MoJ said:

“A thorough review of the SFJ Awards L3 qualification was fundamental to underpin the development of the Welsh Apprenticeship Framework, to align to the Custody and Detention Apprenticeship Standard in England, and provide a range of training options to grow the workforce.“

Through its latest redevelopment, the new SFJ Awards Level 3 Diploma in the Management and Care of Individuals in Custody or Detention qualification has a broader remit. It is now suitable for individuals seeking to gain the expertise needed to work within a range of secure environments, including prisons, detention centres, custodial establishments, young offender institutions and secure escorting services.

Richard Turrell, Talent and Capability Consultant, MoJ commented:

“This qualification was previously delivered in-house, whereas now, having worked with SFJ Awards, this training is recognised as a professional high-quality qualification, across the whole Custody and Detention environment, on a national scale.”

The SFJ Awards qualifications team worked in partnership with not only the HMPPS/MoJ, but alongside other sector employers including: G4S Care and Justice, Serco, GeoAmy, Sodexo, and the Ministry of Defence, combining the awarding body's expertise in qualification design and delivery with national employer requirements, and sharing best practice to ensure that the revised qualification provides managers with the confidence they seek in the skills and expertise of their staff. 

Redevelopment has also included an increased focus on assessment in the workplace to confirm competence in practice, meaning employers have a trusted way of ensuring that officers develop skilled practices to ensure individuals in custody or detention are treated with dignity and respect and helped to find a new way of life, whilst maintaining a safe, secure, and structured environment.

Tony Summers, Head of Learning, Capability and People Development, G4S said:

“G4S Custodial and Detention Services UK will use SFJ Awards’ new custodial qualification as part of the Custody and Detention Officer Apprenticeship framework in Wales. The apprenticeship is a key element of developing the capabilities of new officers and ensures our employees in Wales are given the same opportunity for development as colleagues in England. The apprenticeship will be part of the induction of all new officers at HMP & YOI Parc.”

The new SFJ Awards Level 3 Diploma in the Management and Care of Individuals in Custody or Detention qualification is available today, regulated in England and Wales. By updating the content, it now not only supports apprenticeship development but its value to the sector has been enhanced by making it accessible to staff working in an even wider range of custodial contexts.

Find out more about SFJ Awards Custodial Care qualifications here and get in touch with their team for more information on how these qualifications can help provide your workforce with the skills they need to deliver high quality care and services today.

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