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Vocational instructor

Teach a trade. Build a future.


Would you like to support people to learn new skills and become the best version of themselves? As a vocational instructor, you’ll:

  • run an on-site prison workshop to develop people’s skills and confidence, and assess accredited vocational qualifications
  • set tasks to match ability, while ensuring safety and production is always maintained

The work you do with prisoners will not only have a long-lasting impact, but it’ll also offer some of the most unique challenges. There’s certainly potential to develop your career.

View jobs and apply

Things you need to know

As a vocational instructor (Band 4), you’ll:

  • supervise prisoners and their work while maintaining safety and security 
  • help innovate products for use in a custodial setting or launch a new range for another government department

As part of our team you’ll:

  • create a safe, decent and inclusive environment that supports prisoner rehabilitation
  • supervise and train prisoners in all aspects of the workshop
  • motivate prisoners and support them to become the best versions of themselves
  • keep training records up to date and deliver vocational qualifications
  • set work schedules and manage targets and quality standards, maintaining delivery of contractual arrangements
  • follow all necessary security criteria
  • complete administration activities to support the smooth running of the workshop
  • contribute to health and safety risk assessments and ensure the health and safety of those you are supervising

Depending on the prison you apply to, you may also instruct: 

  • Cycle repair
  • TV Repair
  • Vehicle maintenance and valeting
  • Motor mechanics
  • Bricklaying 
  • Construction
  • Painting and decorating
  • Industrial cleaning
  • Forklift truck driving
  • Hairdresser
  • Retail and hospitality
  • Meat Preparation Butcher
  • Media
  • Storybook Dads
  • Retail outlet
  • Healthy living
  • Life skills instructors


Region Prisons Band 3 Salary Band 4 Salary
Inner London Brixton, Pentonville, Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs £30,137 £35,987
Outer London Belmarsh, Downview, Feltham, High Down, Isis £28,636 £33,506
National All other prisons £25,572 £30,471


As part of the Civil Service pension scheme, you will receive a percentage of your salary based on your contributions and membership period for the pension scheme.

Annual leave:
You will receive 25 days paid annual leave, rising to 30 days after 10 years of service.

Civil Service benefits:

  • access to our cycle to work scheme
  • travel loans

To work as a  vocational instructor, you’ll:

  • need to mentor and coach prisoners to learn new skills
  • be able to read drawings or plans and turn these into clear instructors
  • have some supervisory experience and be able to motivate an untrained workforce
  • be familiar with workshop safety practices
  • have knowledge and skills for your specialism 
  • need strong communication and influencing skills, and a caring, resilient approach
  • need a can-do attitude and enjoy both working in, and leading, a team

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, regardless of their background. Find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

You’ll need to:

  • provide an anonymised format CV. This helps us recruit based on your knowledge and your skills, rather than your background, gender, or ethnicity to ensure the process is fair
  • ensure your CV includes details of any relevant qualifications and experience
  • provide and several short written statements in your application
  • answer questions which outline your experience – tell us about any previous roles you’ve had or, if you are a recent college leaver, your college experience

The Making the Civil Service a Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative includes a guaranteed interview scheme to those who meet the minimum criteria to provide eligible former members of the Armed Forces with opportunities to secure rewarding jobs. Allowing veterans to continue to serve their country, and to bring highly skilled individuals with a broad range of experience into the Civil Service in an environment, which recognises and values your previous service in the Armed Forces.