Home > Science & Law > Working With Young Offenders

Working With Young Offenders

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 5 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Young Offenders Working Jobs

There are a number of opportunities to work with young offenders, all of which require dedication, determination, motivation and a non-judgemental and supportive attitude. Any person wishing to work with young offenders must be dedicated to the practical and positive rehabilitation of young people, without labelling or discrimination.

Types of Jobs Available

The majority of roles working with young offenders are based in some sort of secure unit, semi-secure unit or institution, with high levels of regulation and administration required to maintain tight rehabilitation programmes. The roles are mostly demanded by local authorities and/or the Prison Service, although there are also charities, youth groups and religious organisations that recruit people to work with young offenders.

As of the end of 2010, all people who work with young offenders in a supervisory capacity are required to be graduates with training and/or qualifications approved by the National Youth Agency and the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers. Up until the end of 2010, qualifications simply needed to be validated by these organisations, with a degree not required. There are also a few universities offering specific degrees related to working with young offenders, although these particular courses are not required to apply, with relevant degrees such as psychology or teaching more than welcome.

Skills & Responsibilities

Skills required to work with young offenders are varied, as befits such a responsible role; a role that can have a great impact on often disadvantaged young people who have fallen into difficult circumstances. It is most important not to be judgemental, either of the young offender or their family situation, but to offer support and positivity to aid rehabilitation. The overriding focus of the role of someone working with young offenders is to prevent or at least reduce the potential of further offending behaviour. The young person must be able to respect their team, which will usually include social workers.

Responsibilities include:

  • Help with suitable housing
  • Working with the young person’s relatives to ascertain potential support and/or flash points
  • Working with drug users, offering or signposting to suitable counselling
  • Empowering the young person to act positively
Working with young offenders demands a lot of multi-agency work, so you would need to be comfortable making referrals and dealing with all manner of other agencies.

Salary and Benefits

This career can be relatively well paid, with starting salaries for graduates with relevant skills at around £20,000, not including shift pattern payments or London weighting (typically around 20%). After three years' experience, this rises to around £25,000, with senior youth offender workers earning around £30,000-£36,000. There is a good career progression, plenty of opportunities and excellent benefits, including career breaks.

The profession is keen to recruit specialist youth offender workers with skills focused on positive rehabilitation, such as sports teachers, art & crafts facilitators and trained counsellors that can bring a sense of ‘mentoring’ to this rewarding yet challenging role.

Alternative Careers

You may also be interested to read our articles on Becoming A Social Worker or Working with Children on this site.

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[Add a Comment]
Hey, I have been interested in working with troubled youth for a few years now. I have no criminal record, never been in trouble with the police. I have nephews and a niece (13,11,9,8,8) and a young daughter myself (4). I would just like some advise on how I can get started, I don't mind volunteering or starting from the bottom and working my way up. I'm very passionate about helping the youth and want to make a difference. I can relate to the youth, I was bought up in a broken home. I could've gone down the wrong path but having good people and supportive people around me, I never. Unfortunately some aren't as lucky.
Russ - 5-Sep-17 @ 12:36 PM
I have always wanted to work with youth. It's like a calling career. I have a non violent felony going on 7 years now. I just want an opportunity to change the lives of our future of tomorrow. I am from NYC, I just want to know how to get some training and get start to change loves.
Missy - 8-Mar-17 @ 1:58 PM
Mutley26 - Your Question:
Hi there, just a quick query. My partner is interested in working with young offenders but she has a criminal conviction. She was convicted in 2001 when she was 12, coming on 13, and I have read that a custodial sentence of more than two and a half years, up to four years, is spent for a child under 18 three and a half years after the end of the order. Will her youth conviction, from 15 years ago, have a negative impact on her trying to get into a career with young offenders?

Our Response:
If she is honest about her history, there is no reason why an employer should treat her any differently from other candidates especially as her background may help her in the role.
ACareerChange - 24-Nov-16 @ 12:42 PM
Hi there, just a quick query. My partner is interested in working with young offenders but she has a criminal conviction. She was convicted in 2001 when she was 12, coming on 13, and I have read that a custodial sentence of more than two and a half years, up to four years, is spent for a child under 18 three and a half years after the end of the order. Will her youth conviction, from 15 years ago, have a negative impact on her trying to get into a career with young offenders?
Mutley26 - 23-Nov-16 @ 5:51 PM
ed - Your Question:
I there a telephone number that I could speak to someone regarding getting involved with working with ex offenders. I feel I have much relavent life experience that I can share. I am a British film actor from Bermondsey South East London please feel free to google me. Many thanks I hope some one can help with my qustion

Our Response:
You can find some Volunteering/paid roles here on the NACRO website . You could also try:
The New Bridge Foundation
Prison Advice Service Volunteer roles
ACareerChange - 21-Nov-16 @ 11:13 AM
I there a telephone number that I could speak to someone regarding getting involved with working with ex offenders. I feel I have much relavent life experience that I can share . I am a British film actor from Bermondsey South East London please feel free to google me . Many thanks I hope some one can help with my qustion
ed - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:05 PM
Trina - Your Question:
I have a Health and Social care Degree. I am working in a SEN school with challenging behaviour. I love working with challenging behaviour students and providing advice. I want to become a probation officer. What would I need? I also help the young people in my community.

Our Response:
You will need to obtain extra qualifications in order to fo this. There's useful information on the National Probation Service website
ACareerChange - 21-Oct-16 @ 11:18 AM
I have a Health and Social care Degree. I am working in a SEN school with challenging behaviour. I love working with challenging behaviour students and providing advice. I want to become a probation officer. What would I need? I also help the young people in my community.
Trina - 20-Oct-16 @ 3:17 PM
Interested in working with youth offenders and am willing to do some voluntry work.Im working with the eldery at the moment inchallenging beheviour and need a new challenge.
Keeles - 10-Jun-16 @ 8:19 PM
I am currently a Music and media coach covering PPA for teachers in primary and secondary schools across west yorkshire and have 2 years experience as a teaching assistant as well teaching guitar. I was wondering if there is any opportunity focusing on music whilst working with young offenders. I have a 2.1 degree and am based in leeds. Thanks
sam - 16-Feb-16 @ 10:48 AM
Ally - Your Question:
Hello. I am currently a Primary School teacher and specialised in disability studies. I am looking at a career change and would be interested in working with young offenders. Are there any teaching roles out there and if yes, how do I find these to apply? I am in North West, Cheshire area. Are there other jobs in this area which I could use my qualification for?Thank you Alison Ralph.

Our Response:
We don't have details of specific job vacancies on this site but we hope the advice in the article helped.
ACareerChange - 2-Dec-15 @ 11:45 AM
Sharon - Your Question:
Hi, just asking for advice. I would like to work with young offenders. I am at present working in an approved premises for high risk offenders on licence conditions as a sessional worker for the NPS. I have been employed for 7 yrs now. I have quite a lot of experience, & exceed my duties as a sessional worker, and often do the work of a PSO, even though I am not qualified. I have just graduated from worcester university obtaining a BA Honours degree as a JNC youth worker, although I would of preferred to do the criminology degree. I have experience working with YSS as a keyworker for my placement and had a case load of offenders out in the community. I am present working in a childrens home and still working within the approved premises. I have tried to get into YOS no jobs. I have tried a vacancy within the CRC as a PSO unfortunately I didn't get through the interview as my feedback stated I didn't give enough examples. I have volunteer experience within YOS & also as an appropriate adult for YSS. I understand the changes probation/YOS are experiencing at present with the privatisation of these organisations. However I have exhausted the internet for jobs working with offenders, and feel I have come up against a brick wall, so to speak. Could you advise on where I could be looking. I am registered with many agencies with my CV in line. I just can't seem to find my ideal job that I am so passionate about. My degree I feel is not worth the paper it is written on as Yourh Work jobs are no more. Kind Regards sharon

Our Response:
Unfortunately, apart from contacting youth offending teams directly we cannot suggest much else if you have searched on the Internet. Try using various different search terms as the obvious ones are not always the ones that bring up the best results.
ACareerChange - 1-Dec-15 @ 1:05 PM
Hello. I am currently a Primary School teacher and specialised in disability studies. I am looking at a career change and would be interested in working with young offenders. Are there any teaching roles out there and if yes, how do I find these to apply? I am in North West, Cheshire area. Are there other jobs in this area which I could use my qualification for? Thank you Alison Ralph.
Ally - 30-Nov-15 @ 9:00 PM
Hi, just asking for advice. I would like to work with young offenders. I am at present working in an approved premises for high risk offenders on licence conditions as a sessional worker for the NPS. I have been employed for 7 yrs now. I have quite a lot of experience, & exceed my duties as a sessional worker, and often do the work of a PSO, even though I am not qualified. I have just graduated from worcester university obtaining a BA Honours degree as a JNC youth worker, although I would of preferred to do the criminology degree. I have experience working with YSS as a keyworker for my placement and had a case load of offenders out in the community. I am present working in a childrens home and still working within the approved premises. I have tried to get into YOS no jobs. I have tried a vacancy within the CRC as a PSO unfortunately I didn't get through the interview as my feedback stated I didn't give enough examples. I have volunteer experience within YOS & also as an appropriate adult for YSS. I understand the changes probation/YOS are experiencing at present with the privatisation of these organisations. However I have exhausted the internet for jobs working with offenders, and feel I have come up against a brick wall, so to speak. Could you advise on where I could be looking. I am registered with many agencies with my CV in line. I just can't seem to find my ideal job that I am so passionate about. My degree I feel is not worth the paper it is written on as Yourh Work jobs are no more. Kind Regards sharon
Sharon - 30-Nov-15 @ 12:54 PM
Hi, I am from London, have an undergraduate degree in sociology however due to family issues i struggled, re-took and eventually managed to pass with a 3rd. I began to work in a medium secure mental health hospital, as a social therapist (formally known as health care assistant) and worked across the NHS in various wards including children’s acute units. I have worked here for 2 years. The nursing direction is no longer for me as I feel limited to how I can actually empower and motivate people, due to lack of resources and limits to what I can do. My ideal job would be working with youth, and positively engaging them in society, enabling them to make the best choices. I feel stuck; most requirements to such jobs are people who have social work or youth studies background. Studying further is also limited as my 3rd class honours doesn’t meet any higher education criteria can you kindly inform me of any other options?
seni - 16-Oct-15 @ 5:01 AM
Hi I'm still studying at university but I want a career change whilst studying and have always had a passion to work with young people as I essentially what to teach young offenders when I have my teaching degree. Just wondering what jobs there are and what qualifications I need and how how to apply
Rach - 13-Sep-15 @ 7:44 PM
@mayers. While your experience is of course valuable, you will be expected to have some qualifications for most of the jobs in this field. Ask at your local college for details of relevant courses. You could also ask at your local youth offender's unit for volunteer work which would help you in any job applications.
ACareerChange - 16-Jul-15 @ 2:43 PM
Hi I am29 year old who has not had the best up brining myself. I have a criminal record as i have been to prison twice but i am heavily interested in helping youth distance themselves from trouble. I have not got any qualifications that apply to social work or working with young offenders but i do have a life time of experience. I find it very easy to relate and change the lifestyle of those who many give up on and i would love and have been advised by many to try and make a career of it. I amwalking, talking example of what case workers are trying to achieve and i would like to know how to get my for in the door. What would you suggest?
Mayers - 13-Jul-15 @ 6:10 AM
@Dance66. We cannot contact readers directly to answer their questions unfortunately. The repsonses that we post here are intended to remain there as a resource for anyone else who may be experiencing similar issues. If you post your approximate location, we, or our readers may be able to point you in the direction of relevant organisations.
ACareerChange - 16-Jun-15 @ 12:31 PM
Hi I did voluntary training for youth offending team about 9 years ago.I did voluntary work with a company who mentored clients whilst in prison.I would visit and mentor clients in prison.Once they had completed their time I would meet them at the entrance and take them to accomadation, I then mentored clients in the community for 3 months.I am a qualified mentor and fitness instructor.At present I am a manager for a large retail company. I have tried several times to contact the 'Youth Offending' team for more information as I really would like to work on a permanent basis with the team.No one has contacted me.I would like to know do need a degree to work in this sector? Is there opportunities to do voluntary work? Please can I be contacted to discuss this further? Regards Dance66
Dance66 - 11-Jun-15 @ 2:58 PM
@Sam. The easiest way to find voluntary work is to ask at schools and early years settings in your area.
ACareerChange - 2-Mar-15 @ 2:16 PM
I will be beginning an access to education course and will hopefully be continuing further from this to do the full teaching degree. Initially I was doing a children's nursing degree and was looking at working in young offenders institutions with this. However, I have since decided to retrain as a teacher. I currently live in the west midlands and was wondering what opportunities there are down here and if any voluntary experience was available.
sam - 26-Feb-15 @ 11:22 AM
I will soon be completing my degree 'Foundation Degree in Young Children's Learning and Development', I also have a Level 3 qualification in Young Children's Learning and Development. I have the option to continue onto the BA Hons top-up course in September but I am unsure if this is the right path to take to lead me into a career working with youth offenders which is my aim. Would there be another course or further training needed as an alternative option to the BA Hons Degree, or is the Foundation Degree relevant? I would also appreciate any advice at all in regards to how to get started and who to contact to help. I live in the North West approximately half an hour from Manchester. Thank you in advance Lois
Lois93 - 9-Jan-15 @ 7:08 PM
hi this is in reply to @carpediem years ago i came off hard drugs and have always wanted to work with young offenders as they are often substance misusers..... i also although not graded have a massive self education in psychology medications and therapys aswell as a basic councelling course i took around 13 yrs ago i myself was in prison and wondered if i could still work with them i clearly dont offend anymore or drink even im totally ready at the age of 35 to be experienced enough with life and these issues to be able to help people like i was as its so very needed and not much help was ever given to me. if i can help turn around just one persons life then that will do .....
CatEg - 15-Dec-14 @ 12:40 AM
Hi. im 19 and currently doing my first year in child hood studies degree as well as completing a level 3 child care qualification. With this course I will also be doing 700 hours work experience with working with children. Is there any way I can go into this career?
Carly - 13-Oct-14 @ 1:18 PM
i am qualified primary school teacher (working on supply at the moment) and i am looking to change my career. i live and work in the north east, and would like to know if there are any vacancies, whether i would have to train, if it would cost anything and if my my 2.1 degree is of any use? my strengths within my teaching have always been my great relationships with young people.
phil - 28-Sep-14 @ 11:57 AM
@JWL. Give the Somerset Youth Offending Teama call on 01458 440820 or write to them at: 5-7 West End, Street, Somerset, BA16 0LG They will be able to tell you if there are any voluntary or paid opportunities near you.
ACareerChange - 24-Sep-14 @ 1:51 PM
@Kakes. Doing some voluntary work is a great place to start out. You should contact your local youth service, probation service or social work team for more information about volunteering. Remember you will be CRB checked but if you're up front about your past then hopefully that will not go against you. To become qualified in this area, there are some NVQ style courses that you can follow. The National Youth Agency has this page of useful information which will tell you which courses and apprenticeships are available.
ACareerChange - 24-Sep-14 @ 10:20 AM
I am very interested in working with young offenders but not sure what I need to do. I am currently living within the Somerset area. Kind Regards Jean Lopez 07747490381
jwl - 23-Sep-14 @ 7:34 PM
Hi am ex affender looking to give somthing back.I would love to work with young offenders but am in need of guidance on how to get started,I have no qualifications but i belveve i could help young affenders as i have been there myself and i can relate to what they are going through.I want to start a.s.a.p pleas help
kakes - 23-Sep-14 @ 11:40 AM
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