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Prison Officer

202302 : Youth Justice Worker – HMYOI Cookham Wood – 71132
£30,880 – £34,523


Join us as youth justice worker – make a difference to children and young people

The Youth Custody Service is transforming its workforce and we want you to help us on this journey. The youth justice worker role is a based on the prison officer role, but specific to working in youth custody. It will be a driving force for changing the way children and young people are cared for in custody.

We are looking for people who have a special talent in helping young people.

You will be responsible for ensuring the security and safety of children and supporting them day-to-day in a custodial environment. You’ll get training and development to ensure you have a clear understanding of the individual circumstances for young people in custody, and how your reactions in complex or dynamic situations are key to ensuring these children are helped to build better lives.

You will support young people who may have committed serious crimes, grown up in difficult settings or have mental health concerns. These individuals will test boundaries at every level, but also have a huge potential for change.

You will need a DBS check.



To be a youth justice worker you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • be reasonably fit and have good eyesight in both eyes
  • have a suitable standard of hearing (without the use of hearing aids)
  • be able to speak with confidence in English or (when specified in Wales) Welsh


Essential skills

You don’t need qualifications to become a youth justice worker. Personal qualities are more important. You need to show:

  • good communication and influencing skills
  • commitment to quality
  • effective decision-making
  • care and understanding

As a practitioner, you will be working with children, young people and families, including carers, to achieve positive and sustainable change in their lives. You will:

  • demonstrate a passion to care for and about children, young people and families
  • be skilled in recognising and assessing the complex needs that children, young people and families often present
  • agree with the child, young person or family any specific interventions or referrals
  • take an approach that will be one of respectful curiosity that challenges and supports children, young people and families to achieve their potential and stay safe
  • work alongside other professionals and organisations to share the responsibility for improving outcomes

Each piece of work with a child or family will be different and you will exercise judgement on a range of evidence-based approaches to inform your practice. You will regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your methods and actions. Regular supervision with an experienced practitioner will encourage reflection on your practice. At the end of the apprenticeship, the high quality of your practice will be making a real difference to those you work with.

Find out more about being a youth justice worker.


How to apply

The online application begins with important details such as your National Insurance number and right to work in the UK.

You will then be invited to complete the online tests, to see if you have the basic judgement and numerical skills expected of a youth justice worker.

The online assessment centre:

If you pass the online tests, we will invite you to the online assessment centre. We test to see if you have the abilities, behaviours and strengths to be a youth justice worker.

We also carry out an eyesight test, hearing test and basic health screening, including blood pressure check along with a fitness test.  This will take place after you have successfully passed your assessment and once we are in a position to offer you a role.

 Read more about the application process.


Job details



The initial training is 37 hours a week. After training, you can choose to work 37, 39 or 41 hours a week. Your annual salary will reflect your weekly hours.

HMYOI Cookham Wood


37 hours a week =   £30,880 a year

39 hours a week =   £32,702 a year

41 hours a week =   £34,523 a year

All salary figures quoted include any additional allowances.

The standard working week of a youth justice worker is based on a 39 hours per week shift pattern.

You may also have opportunities to work additional paid hours.


  • 25 days’ annual holiday (rising to 30 days after 10 years’ service)
  • paid time off for public holidays and 1 extra privilege day
  • Civil Service pension of up to 20% of your salary

Read more about youth justice worker benefits.


Training and career progression

Working within youth custody, you’ll have a clear progression pathway. Full details regarding the apprenticeship course will be made available prior to the time of enrolment.

Once you have successfully completed your qualification you will progress to a band 4 youth justice worker specialist role. Please note that if you are not successful on completion of the programme, you will be redeployed to a prison officer role in the adult estate.

Ongoing training and development for specialist skills such as child protection and safeguarding will be provided.


Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Civil Servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. If you feel the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles, you can raise a formal complaint in the following order:


  1. Shared Services Connected Ltd: call 0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or email
  2. Ministry of Justice Resourcing:
  3. The Civil Service Commission.

We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging.


Disability support 

As a Disability Confident employer, the Ministry of Justice are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. We can offer reasonable adjustments to help with the online tests and online assessment centre.

If you require any assistance, please call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am -6pm) or email


Job offers: pass vacancy

This is a ‘pass’ job vacancy. If you are successful at the assessment centre you will be offered a job immediately if there is a position available.

If there are no vacancies, you will be placed on a reserve list and will be offered a job as soon as there is a vacancy.

Your successful pass from the assessment centre will be valid for 12 months if you want to apply for vacancies at other prisons.


£30,880 - £34,523

Additional Information

If you require any assistance please call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) or e-mail Please quote the job reference 71132.

Closing Date 02nd May 2023.