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.
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.
I am a fully qualified teacher of psychology and Health and Social Care. I love teaching but my passion has always been to work with young offenders. What possible path can I take? I havea Bsc in Psychology, a PGCE and 5 years teaching experience.
sazzle - 21-May-13 @ 11:57 AM
I looking into starting a career in working with young offenders. This is an area of work I have always wanted to be a part of. Never before have I thought it to be possible after not taking the correct courses in college etc I really want to give it a go now. I have counselling qualifications and want to gain experience in the necessary areas to work towards my dream career! All I need is the right help and guidance in going about finding experience/work in this field.
Daniel - 3-Apr-13 @ 3:41 PM
I love working with children! And would like to help them to change there lives for the better im very interested in sport and physicsl activity and would be very thankful if you would reply to me. i beleive i would make a great difference to young offenders!
Degree in sport coaching science pending in July 2013
Chris - 10-Mar-13 @ 11:17 AM
I am currently a High School Teacher and would like to change career. I am very interested in working with Young Offenders but unsure how I can get into this typew of work and what qualifications are required.I would really appreciate some advise?
Mr O - 8-Jan-13 @ 10:25 AM
I ama qualified school teacher with 10 years teaching experience.I have a passion for working with young offenders. Please may you kindly inform me about training. Thank you.
Larry - 3-Jan-13 @ 12:29 PM
I am interested in working with young offenders, as I have have experienced what it's like to be in thier position, and would like to prevent others from ruining thier lives and the lives of thier families.
I beleive that I would be able to make a big difference to many young offenders, by sharing my experience in my own life and the troubles it has caused me and my own family.
I would welcome the oppourtunity to discuss in further detail my application with you.
PJCole - 11-Dec-12 @ 11:59 AM
I would like to do training work with young offenders, l have no experience that why l want to do training work
Eb - 14-Nov-12 @ 8:50 PM
I would love to work with young offenders but on my CRB i have two convictions one for shoplifting and the other for ABH which i was very young and silly. If only someone would give me a chance i have my level 2 and level 3 in Health and Social care and i know i can give guidance and help young offenders get through life.I am very good and have a lot of patience for young people .
Shaz - 24-Oct-12 @ 8:26 PM
Hi, I have a twenty pound theft conviction which I pleaded guilty to December 2010. Will having a conviction hinder my chances of becoming a Youth Offender Officer? I have paid for and have completed NVQ level two and three in Health & Social Care and NVQ level four in Managment. I'm starting a three year BA Psychosocial Studies degree in September. I will specialise in criminology. As an individuals who have been through the criminal justice system I felt the lack of support and wrong advice was terrible. I could help rehabilate young individuals into making positive changes which will enable them to have a much brighter future. Alot of Probation officers and Youth offender officers have a very negative approach to helping people with convictions as well as re-offenders. I feel very negative about the lack of support for re-offenders.
Sab - 29-Aug-12 @ 3:08 PM
Hi Guys. I thought id share my experience with you all in the hope that it may benefit and dispell any myths that can arise when talking or dealing with the topic of young offending/criminal justice/substance misuse etc. I am 43 this year and i have been working with this client group for the last 10 years. Ranging from a structured day programme for substance misuse to residential childrens home. I have worked my way up from a volunteer back 10 years ago to a service manager of a young peoples hostel with med-high support needs to a tier 4 residential treatment facility here in London for drug and alcohol addiction..........This year i moved from supported housing to young offenders, delivering support group work for YP's with substance misuse issues.......A job that i love.
My story is that i started sniffing solvents when i was 8 years of age and at the end of my using i was injecting heroin and crack into my neck on a daily basis. I have spent a total of 15 years in one institution or another, be it secure care as a child(9/10 & 11) or detention centre, borstal and prison. Excluded from mainstream education, socially excluded as a result of my behaviour/using etc..
Yet here i am all these years down the line doing what i do. This is all about the attitude towards this field, if you have that then you have what it takes to do the job. I would look to start off as a volunteer with a service, just to get some insight into data protection/policies/health an safety/procedures/safe guarding etc etc etc. This way you have the benefit of showing employers)like me when i interview) that you are prepared to learn with a limited amount of pressure. If not then start off as a basic support worker through the NVQ level 2 route, either funded by the employer or yourself if you can afford it with a local college. They in turn will help with placements to enable you to learn the basics of the trade.......Its easier to learn it this way as it lessons the stress/responsibility of a full time position and all that comes with it.....
Hope this helps. Dont let anyone ever tell you you cant do it.
CarpeDiem - 3-Aug-12 @ 9:22 AM
Hi, i'm 16 and going to six form, I really would love to work with young offenders and think I have the right skills needed. I really don't know what courses too do or what qualifications?
megan - 12-Jul-12 @ 10:02 AM
My fiance is currently serving in the british army but is looking to leave his posting and enter this profession. He would love to work within this industry and we know he would be fantastic in succeeding, but he has no relevant qualifications. I was really hoping that somebody could give us a huge push in the right direction to get him started. Unfortunately he will need a full time paid position as we have a mortgage, are getting married in 5 month & will be starting our own family, so money will be an issue for us. He would be willing to volunteer out of working hours if this is the only way to enter this rewarding role, so if somebody could calrify what way to go, it would be most helpful and very much appreciated.
LouLouBell - 9-Jul-12 @ 10:46 AM
Hi I'm a secondary school art teacher. Looking for a career change. This looks interesting but it's not clear if I would be qualified and what re-training would be needed. I have already got a degree, MA and PGCE qualification and don't want to spend two much time and a money re-training.
Mandy - 27-Mar-12 @ 2:07 PM
Hi, I am a mum of 3 working within the NHS. I am starting an access to humanities course this September. I hope this will lead to a career in contributing towards helping young offenders in some way. Could you tell me where I would go after completing the access course?... and what (if any) other qualifications I would need?...
Cez - 9-Mar-12 @ 4:07 PM
I am an ex offender looking to give something back but am in need of guidance on how to get started. I have no recognised social work qualifications but believe i could help deter young offenders froma life of crime as i have been there myself an can relate to what they are going through. is there anyone out there who could help me?
manfredo - 13-Feb-12 @ 12:10 PM
Hi there,I am also very interested in using my own experience and that of raising two boys to work with young offenders.I have 15 years experience of working in the NHS and soon qualify as a psychotherapist.gwynivere and others, I would be interested to hear what your experience is.
Markws - 6-Nov-11 @ 6:12 PM
I have worked as a primary school teacher for 9 years.I would be extremely interested in working with young offenders and would welcome any advice on how and where to apply for such teaching positions.
Jackie - 5-Oct-11 @ 10:00 PM
Hi! I was wondering how you can get to work as a teacher with young offenders, or a similar role teaching and supporting. Many thanks in advance.
Luis - 23-Sep-11 @ 10:41 AM
I am 37 with 3 kids, my 11year old was statemented when he was 6 with anger & violent behavour, it's been a battle but with the support of others & myself he's doing really well. My up bringing wasn't good, exposed to violence & then found myself in violent relationships. I would love to find out more about working with kids, also work with them & make a difference. I don't have any qualifications & the only experience I have is, my life & my sons.
Beena - 16-Sep-11 @ 9:07 AM
I would love to help young offenders from re-offending. I'm from the school of hard knocks at 43 years young. I have been through the wringer, and have overcome my dark journey as I continue to press on. My faith and hope is very strong and I believe I have a lot to offer in this area. Which would benifet youth offenders strongly!!! However I don't have a grade 12 or any diploma's, could you direct me to the right connections, so that I can use my tools to reach out. With the correct skills and help these youths from recidevism. Sincerly yours!
sammy - 15-Aug-11 @ 4:24 PM
I am currently a serving soldier looking to leave the army and start a new career in this field. I have a lot of experince in working with youths from broken backgrounds and had complex welfare issues. I have been heavily involed in welfare and completed a counselling course. I would like to know how to get into this area as I'm not totally sure. any info would benefit.
kirsty - 18-Jul-11 @ 8:40 PM
Heya im currently going to start a access course where would I go from here if I wanted to get into this?
lillea - 5-Jul-11 @ 6:00 PM
I love working with children! And would like to help them to change there lives for the better im a very interested in your way of training and would be very thankful if you would reply to me.
i beleive i would make a great difference to young offenders!
simone - 17-May-11 @ 2:25 PM
I am a qualified Person-centred Psychotherapist. I really want to work with young offenders but can find nothing available. I was wondering if the Social Work sector employ counsellors/psychotherapists or if I need to take a Social Work course in order to gain access in working with this particular group of individuals? I'm frustrated and passionate about what I do but am simply having no luck in finding a vacancy which would enable me to work with young offenders and offer my skills and qualifications.