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Probation officer: Training

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Trainees working towards the Professional Qualification in Probation are employed as probation services officers (PSOs) and receive a salary at Band 3 on the NPS pay scale. All training costs are covered.

Training includes study for a QCF Level 6 Community Justice Learning qualification (equivalent to the final year of an honours degree), integrated with a vocational qualification and supervised work experience covering high-risk offenders. The training has previously taken 15 months and is currently under review.

Once qualified, National Probation Service (NPS) probation officers are supported by the National Offender Management Service's human resources learning and development team, which delivers professional skills training for the NPS. In addition, all NPS staff have access to Civil Service Learning , which provides a range of courses and resources for developing skills common to all UK civil servants.

The 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) are responsible for the training and development of their probation staff, and training opportunities will vary depending on the company.

With experience and relevant training, it may be possible to specialise in a particular area of probation work, such as working with sex offenders or working in court.

Some probation officers take advantage of secondments to spend time working for other agencies, such as in youth offending teams or prisons. Training for those who are thinking of becoming managers may also be available.

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Written by AGCAS editors
October 2015

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