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Trainee Counselling Psychologist Placement – Youth Custody Service – 46236

Multiple Locations


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. To find out more about how we do this visit:

The placements are unpaid but there may be an agreement to pay travel if required.

Trainee Counselling Psychologist Placement with Youth Custody Service (YCS)

The YCS is offering Trainee Counselling Psychology placements.

The placement is to work with children aged 15-18 years with complex needs within a custodial setting. Some work is likely to be short-term, but there is scope for longer term work.

The placement is a rich opportunity for a Trainee Counselling Psychologist to work within a large organisation and demonstrate the benefits of a Counselling Psychology approach. It’s a rewarding placement where a Trainee will work as part of a multi-disciplinary team and will provide therapeutic input with children who may not have previously engaged with talk therapy.

Environment, population and challenges

There are four Youth Offenders Institutions (YOI) across the UK and they are HMYOI Cookham wood, HMYOI Feltham and HMYOI Wetherby and Werrington. Each has their own unique culture and service.

Trainee Counselling Psychologists interested in a placement at either of the YOIs are advised to consider that the environment and population will present practical and emotional challenges not experienced in other environments. The children will often have experienced extremely adverse conditions and events, including abuse, which may have resulted in emotional regulation issues, trauma and engagement difficulties.

The placement is within a custodial setting so Trainees will be required to carry keys and keep all gates locked at all times. The children are encouraged to attend a range of activities so Education, the gym, family visits and interventions, such as psychological counselling. Given the emphasis on education and on the system having to respond quickly to violence and risk there may sometimes be delays to sessions, difficulties access young people, so booked sessions may need to be rescheduled. The environment is challenging but is one in which a Trainee counselling psychologist will build on their resilience, clinical experience and partner with a creative and dedicated specialist staff team. A team comprised of custodial officers and a multi-disciplinary CAMHS team.

The fundamentals

The Trainee Counselling Psychologist (s) on placement will work from the Psychology Department made up of Trainee Forensic Psychologist at various stages of training, Registered Psychologist and at some sites there is also a Family Therapist. Clinical supervision will be provided by a registered Psychologist.

The Trainee(s) can agree to a 6 month placement, however a 12 month contract and longer is preferred because it provides a better depth of experience and learning. The Trainee will attend the placement once a week. Days are negotiable. They can see up to four clients, depending on experience and gaining familiarity with the setting. If the YOI has a family therapist the Trainee may want to join the Family Therapy team. There are opportunities for assessment, formulation, treatment planning and therapy.

Application process

The placement will be advertised on the civil service jobs website. Due to the security of the environment it is important that a good fit between the Trainee Counselling Psychologist and the placement is found. Therefore applicants will be asked to provide a CV and covering letter explaining how they see their experience and skills fit this placement. Interviews will be offered in order to further ensure a suitable fit. Interviews will focus on the Trainee’s understanding of what it means to work in a secure environment, responding to the children’s needs and dealing with challenges to resilience that this placement may pose as well as on multi-disciplinary team working within such a setting. The interview panel will likely include a child.

The successful Trainee will need to have enhanced DBS clearance. Undertaking Prison Service security checks after the interview will also be necessary. This process is slow and can take several weeks. The successful Trainee will undertake a brief (4 day) induction programme to ensure they know about Prison Service processes and about the teams that they will be working with as well as feel confident in the environment. The Induction programme normally takes place once a month Monday-Thursday. You will also be required to produce a Covering Letter.

Contact / questions welcome so if you are interested in finding out more before applying. Please email:


Additional Information

Please note if you are successful for interview you may be asked to do a presentation.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s, including HMPPS, terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Standard working hours for this post are 37 hours per week excluding breaks which are unpaid.

If you are a current NPS employee, this vacancy may be available on a Loan basis for up to 2 years. Applications are invited from suitable qualified staff.

The Loan/Secondment is subject to the approval of the selected candidate’s Business Unit, which should be obtained before confirmation of appointment.


Annual Leave

-The holiday year runs from 1 March. If you work a non standard work pattern your leave entitlement may be expressed in either hours or days as appropriate. Leave entitlement is calculated on a pro-rata basis and you will be advised of your actual entitlement on appointment. If you were appointed internally and your leave was previously calculated in days, this will continue to be the case.

Bank, Public and Privilege Holidays

You are entitled to 9 days (66 hours 36 minutes) in recognition of bank, public and privilege holidays. These hours are added to your annual leave allowance. There is a requirement to work some public and bank holidays subject to your shift pattern and the operational needs of the establishment


-The Civil Service offers a choice of two pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.

Work Life Balance

-HM Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) is keen to encourage alternative working arrangements. Work life balance provides greater opportunities for staff to work more flexibly wherever managers and establishments can accommodate requests to do so. HMPPS offers flexible working subject to completion of a satisfactory probationary period and NVQ

Season Ticket Advance

-After two months’ service, you’ll be eligible to apply for a season ticket advance to purchase a quarterly or longer-period season ticket for travel between home and your place of work

Childcare Vouchers

For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers


-HMPPS is committed to staff development and offers a range of training and development opportunities, including areas such as Equality and Diversity, Dealing with Challenging Behaviour, Suicide Prevention and Anti Bullying Programmes

-There are opportunities to access promotion programmes and HMPPS provide a variety of training appropriate to individual posts

-All staff receive security and diversity training and an individual induction programme into their new roles


-All candidates are subject to security and identity checks prior to taking up post

-All external candidates are subject to 6 months probation. Internal candidates are subject to probation if they have not already served a probationary period within HMPPS

-All staff are required to declare whether they are a member of a group or organisation which HMPPS considers to be racist

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.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.