Frequently Asked Questions - Offender Education

Question Mark Board OJFAQs About Working In Offender Education

Frequently asked questions about careers in the Offender Education sector

FAQs: A Career in Offender Learning

What does OLASS mean?


OLASS stands for Offender Learning and Skills Service. OLASS is the system that is currently used throughout sites in the UK for the education of offenders. This enables offenders to gain skills and qualifications that can lead to them gaining sustainable employment and becoming a positive contribution to society on release.


How many prisons are there in the UK?


There are currently 155 prisons across the UK. The Education Departments of these sites are managed by multiple education providers, generally determined by location.


Do I need teaching qualifications to work in a prison?


You will need the minimum qualifications requested for the role you are applying for. You do not require any specialist training specific to prisons as this will be provided.


Is it safe to work in a prison?


Yes, there are robust security processes to ensure staff are kept safe. Class sizes tend to be smaller than FE colleges and some Education areas have constant Officer presence.


Are there and restrictions on the resources that can be used?


Yes, all resources need to be appropriate and not provocative or offensive. You will need a pro-active approach to resources as memory sticks and IT are restricted. Many classrooms have interactive whiteboards but resources may need to be emailed in.


What’s the environment like?


Every establishment is different. Some Education provision is delivered in large, purpose built buildings with light and spacious facilities. Others are on the houseblocks or in workshops.


Are there opportunities for training and development?


Specific opportunities will vary from provider to provider however generally, training and development is promoted through a dedicated training manager and CPD modules offered throughout the year. There is also great potential for quick rates of progression.


Is there a uniform?

Only in the form of standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), if you deliver vocational training.

What is the dress code?


Generally smart. Each establishment may have their own dress code but as a rule, no sleeveless tops, sandals or flip flops, no jeans or anything too short or low cut.        


Are you told what the learners’ offences are?


No. As all settings are safe and it is not relevant to the service delivered, there is no reason for this to be discussed.


What subjects are on offer to learners?

A wide variety depending on various factors, but generally a reflection of an FE provision. This includes English, Maths, IT. Vocational Training is also key to Offender Learning, including Construction, Multi-skills and Hairdressing, with a selection of personal, social and employability qualifications.

What are the working hours?

This can depend on the Regime the establishment operates but generally a 37 hour working week will comprise of 8am start, 5pm finish with one hour for lunch Mon to Thursday and an earlier finish on Fridays.

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