Case study

Probation officer — Kirsty McDowell

Kirsty works hard to protect the public and prevent re-offending, as well as promoting rehabilitation in the community

How did you get your job?

After completing a BA Hons in Community Justice at Portsmouth University, I applied for a probation officer post with the National Probation Service and was successful.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Without having completed a degree in community justice, I wouldn't have secured my current post.

What are your main work activities?

Each day in my role is different and consists of supervising high-risk prolific offenders, both in custody and in the community, with the specific purpose of ensuring that measures and interventions are in place to protect the public, prevent re-offending and promote re-settlement and rehabilitation into the community.

How has your role developed and what are your ambitions?

Since graduation, my role has significantly changed in terms of the level of responsibility and nature of risk/offenders that I work with. It's my ambition to continue to develop within my role and to hopefully progress in the future.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like having an input into the lives of individuals with the hope that victims will be protected and that I can at least work with someone to hopefully promote positive change in their lives. I enjoy having a specific professionalism, working with complex individuals to protect the public and promote change.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Dealing with difficult and complex individuals who sometimes have no desire to change, engage or comply can be particularly challenging.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

This career is sometimes difficult and challenging but also very rewarding. It provides you with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding in working with challenging and problematic behaviours.

The role allows you to change and develop skills, and there is also scope and opportunity to venture out into different roles within the service.

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