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Education and Training

The proportion of the justice sector workforce with qualifications at Level 4 or above is comparable with that of the workforce across the whole economy. Similarly, the proportion of workers with below Level 2 qualifications (21%) is lower when compared with the whole economy (30%).This means that a higher percentage of the workforce is has Level 2 and 3 qualifications.

Following recent trends, younger people in the sector are more likely to have higher qualifications (in the 25-34 age group) than older workers.

Source: Employment and Skills within the UK Justice Sector 2010



Sector qualifications

Policing and Law Enforcement

The table below summarises the qualification gained upon entry into the Policing and Law Enforcement sector. It is important to note that all of these qualifications can only be undertaken once a person is recruited into the organisation. Non-uniformed police staff are not included in the table below as the variety of roles is too numerous containing a variety of necessary of qualifications.

Quals Policing and Law Enforcement


Community justice

The table below summarises the qualification gained upon entry into the various pathways of the community justice sub-sector. It is important to note that some of these qualifications can only be undertaken once a person is recruited into the organisation.

Quals Community justice

Quals Community justice (cont)


Courts and tribunal services

The table below summaries the qualifications gained upon entry into the Court Service and in some cases prior to joining (most relevant for Legal Advisors). It is important to note that most of these qualifications are undertaken once a person is recruited into the organisation.

Quals Courts and tribunal services


Custodial care

  • Prison Officers need to be occupationally competent to perform assigned duties and establish reliable and safe working practices. The Prison Service requires staff to demonstrate this by achieving the custodial care NVQ (CCNVQ) Level 3.
  • All newly recruited prison officers will be required to complete CCNVQ within 12 months of starting their employment as a prison officer.


Fire and rescue services

  • Firefighters posts do require a general standard of education (some brigades will prefer you to have GCSEs or equivalent)
  • After entering the service recruits work towards a qualification such as the NVQ Level 3 in Emergency Fire Services or Level 2 in Fire Safety.
  • Recruits may also be encouraged to work towards a specialist qualification such as a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) license for driving fire engines
  • If individuals are involved in fire safety and prevention work, they can take professional qualifications leading to membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers and study subjects such as fire risk engineering, fire safety, and fire safety management at degree level.
  • Fire control operators are required to have a sound education including at least GCSE English Grade C.
  • During a two-year probationary period, training and development follows a programme at NVQ level 3.
  • As previously mentioned the variety of fire and rescue staff roles, qualifications are solely dependent on the role. Visit the local fire brigade to find the qualifications associated the job.
  • Initial Training and Development

All staff in operational and control roles undertake structured development, an assessment of competency and systematic maintenance of skills. This training and development is based on the National Occupational Standards for the sector and specific operating requirements and guidance, such as the National Fire Service Manuals, standard operating procedures and statutory requirements (e.g. those set by the HSE). There is variation in the delivery and assessment of training and development across the different segments of the sector, although they are assessed against common standards and qualifications are used extensively at key parts of the development process.


Forensic sciences

The table below summaries the qualifications need to gain entry into the forensic science sector.

Quals Forensic sciences


Prosecution services

  • Roles such as administrative assistant or caseworker do not require any qualification for entry.
  • Associate Prosecutors must pass a testing training course, validated by an external body, and are formally designated by the Director of Public Prosecutions, can undertake some of the Magistrates Court work.
  • Legal Trainee scheme is presently suspended until at least 2010/11.
  • Crown Prosecutors, Crown Advocates or other legal staff must be either:
  • Solicitor who is admitted in England and Wales with a full current practising certificate
  • Barrister called to the English Bar who has completed pupillage
  • Qualifications for non-legal staff in areas such as communication, equality and diversity, and human resources depend greatly on the role and vary widely.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Training

  • In England, 9% of employers offer Apprenticeships and 4% of employers currently have staff undertaken an Apprenticeship.
  • At least 85% of employers have offered training in the past 12 months.

Source: National Employers Skills Survey 2010

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Entry requirements and progression in the sector


Police and law enforcement

There are no formal educational requirements for entry to the police service. Recruitment and selection procedures are managed by police services at a local level, although there are nationally agreed competencies and a minimum entry age of 18 years. It can be an advantage to have some experience of working with individuals or groups in the community, such as sports coaching or working with local youth groups. Applicants need to be physically and mentally able to undertake police duties, so will have to undergo written and physical exams as well as complete a medical history. The Initial Police Learning and Development Programme is delivered to all recruits and in some forces this is delivered to Foundation degree level. Recruits can also complete the NVQ Level 3 and 4 in Policing.

There are basic eligibility requirements to become a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), but unlike requirements for regular police officers there is no minimum age. Training for PCSOs currently varies between forces.

There are no formal academic qualifications required to become an Immigration Officer, however most candidates are educated to A level standard. Some ability in a foreign language can be advantageous for applicants.

Requirements for Non-Uniformed Police Staff, such as those in support roles, vary greatly throughout the forces. Qualifications and application process differ for each force and job role.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses, foundation degrees, vocational qualifications and training schemes. In 2010, a graduate fast track scheme will be introduced to help attract individuals with potential to progress rapidly through the ranks starting at constable.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Community justice

To qualify as a probation officer in England or Wales, entrants have to join a probation service as a trainee probation officer (this process is currently under review). Around half of successful applicants to trainee positions have a background in probation-related work, in jobs such as Probation Service Officer (PSO), community supervisor or hostel worker. Qualified probation officers are encouraged to continue their professional and personal development. With experience, some specialise in areas, such as hostel or prison work, or progress in to management.

Probation Service Officer jobs require some relevant work experience and at least five GCSEs (A*-C) or equivalent, including English and Mathematics. Many applicants have A Levels, and some have a degree. The Advanced Apprenticeship in community justice or Youth Justice is an alternative entry route. Adult entry is common.

Whilst there are no qualifications required for entry to Victim Care Officer roles, experience is needed in delivering a service in statutory, voluntary, community or private sector settings and working with a range of people. Similarly, Independent Domestic Violence Advocate require experience of work in providing advocacy, advice and support and have extensive experience of planning and delivering caseloads, with strong crisis management skills.

Community safety officers and managers have varied backgrounds with no upper age limit for entry to this work. Entry requirements vary, but some employers ask for a degree and experience in a project management role. Degree subjects such as community studies, community justice, criminology and sociology may be helpful.

Some job roles in Drug and Alcohol/Substance Misuse may require applicants to have a relevant professional qualification from a health, social care or criminal justice setting. There is a preference for applicants to be over 21 years.

To become a professional youth worker, applicants need to gain a youth and community work qualification that is recognised by the National Youth Agency (NYA). From September 2010, all new professional qualifications in youth work will be at Honours degree level or higher.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses (such as the Apprenticeship in community justice), undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, vocational qualifications and training schemes.

For many roles in community justice work, applicants will be subject to a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau). For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Courts and tribunal services

All applications must go through a standard application process through the Ministry of Justice for both the Tribunal and HM Court Services.

To be a Legal Advisor, entrants can either be professionally qualified as a solicitor or barrister before commencing work with HM Courts Service. Alternatively, an entrant can be employed by HM Courts Service as a trainee solicitor or barrister after completion of their academic and full-time vocational training. HM Courts Service offers a specific scheme for trainee solicitors and barristers. Trainee legal advisers undergo training for up to two years.

A number of courses are provided for Court Administration Managers to develop leadership and management capability. Some have the opportunity to obtain management qualifications, such as NVQ Management Level 4 or a Masters in Business Administration.

Internal training is provided for Court Clerks, Administrative Officers, Enforcement Officers and Ushers. Roles such as administrator, ushers and clerks have internal progression pathways.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses, undergraduate and post-graduate courses and training schemes.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Custodial care

Prison officer, specialist support staff and operational support staff are three types of job roles available in the custodial setting.

There are basic eligibility requirements to become a Prison Officer, such as minimum age and citizenship requirements. Experience of working in the police or armed forces, or as a security officer or probation officer is advantageous. A Prison Officer can progress to a senior position with around two year’s experience (this is decided by application, examination and interview). There are then opportunities to gain promotion through the governor grades. In the HM Prison Service there is an Intensive Development Scheme for graduates (NOMS Graduate programme), which offers early progression to senior grades.

For both specialist and operation staff, there are pathways to enter into trainee roles and progress to more senior and managerial roles. Again, there are basic eligibility requirements, such as minimum age and citizenship requirements. Qualifications and entry requirements differ for each role. Specialist prison service staff roles include: instructional officers; health care roles; chaplaincy roles; psychologists and psychological assistants; construction and technical training; and administration. For entry into these roles, applicants are required to have a qualification and/or training in the vocational area before entering the prison service. Operational support roles include: patrolling; ground staff; store duties; drivers and navigators; switchboard staff; and canteen staff.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, vocational qualifications and training schemes.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Fire and rescue services

There are basic eligibility requirements to become a Firefighter, such as a minimum age and a good general education and GCSE or equivalent passes in English, Mathematics and a science subject are particularly useful. Applicants need to be physically and mentally able to undertake duties, so will have to undergo written and physical exams as well as complete a medical history. Each fire service recruits independently, following national fire service recruitment procedures. New recruits take part in a full-time induction training programme, which will introduce fire safety standards and protective measures, fire prevention and safety education work. This lasts between 12 and 16 weeks (18 weeks in Northern Ireland). Within the Fire and Rescue Services, the main routes for progression are through interview and Assessment and Development Centres (ADCs).

Fire control operators need to be at least 18 years old to apply, with at least GCSE English Grade C, keyboard skills and proven experience of working and coping with stress. Entrants will have to complete a two-year probationary period, training and development following a programme at NVQ Level 3.


General fire and rescue staff are employed in a variety of other roles, such as administration, stores, mechanics, IT and radio technicians, cooks, cleaners and driving staff. Application process and requirements are dependent on the particular role.

Some Fire and Rescue Services also operate direct entry recruitment processes to managerial operational roles (this is particularly the case in England and Wales). There is a range of industry endorsed courses, foundation degrees, vocational qualifications and training schemes.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Forensic science

Most forensic scientists start as trainees and receive on-the-job training from experienced scientists, combining in-house courses with practical casework. Forensic scientists can take further specialist qualifications, such as the forensic science Society diploma course, specialising in, for example, crime scene investigation, document examination, fire investigation, firearms examination and forensic imaging.

Direct entry as a forensic scientist is with a degree in a mathematical or science subject, or an equivalent professional qualification. A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is increasingly desirable as competition is intense. A relevant PhD or MSc, in, for example, forensic science, can be an advantage.

Police forces employ civilians as Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs) (sometimes known as Crime Scene Investigators), who start as an assistant scenes of crime officer (or volume crime scene examiner). New entrants may attend a three-week basic training course at National Police Improvement Agency and then take a four-week conversion course to become a SOCO after gaining some experience. There are opportunities for further study for SOCOs to progress forensic scientist or management posts.

To become an assistant forensic scientist, applicant need at least one A level/Advanced Higher or two Highers in science subjects. To become a forensic scientist and progress to senior level a good honours degree in a relevant subject is required. Once in post, there are opportunities for further study. The largest commercial provider, forensic science Service (FSS), has a promotion structure for forensic scientists. Apart from the FSS, most employers in England and Wales are small, with limited opportunities for promotion.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, vocational qualifications and training schemes.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.


Prosecution services

There are three routes to becoming a Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, as follows:

  • legal trainee in the CPS Legal Trainee Scheme
  • solicitor who is admitted in England and Wales with a full current practising certificate
  • barrister called to the English Bar who has completed pupillage

Each year, the Crown Prosecution Service recruits trainee barristers and solicitors. For entry, applicants need to have completed either the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Vocational Course or be in their final year of study. A legal trainee can progress to a Crown Prosecutor when both the course has been successfully completed and solicitor or barrister qualifications have been obtained. Legal trainees are also appointed from internal candidates.

Roles, such as administrative assistant or caseworker, do not require any qualification for entry. Qualifications for non-legal staff in areas such as communication, equality and diversity, and human resources depend greatly on the role and vary widely.

For those thinking of a career change, points of entry into the sector are: administrator; caseworkers; witness care officer; prosecutors; and professional non-legal staff. Roles such as administrator and caseworker have internal career progression pathways onto such roles as prosecutor, whereas normally entry into these roles would require outside qualifications and private practice experience.

There are a range of industry endorsed courses, undergraduate and post-graduate courses and training schemes.

For job specific entry requirements, job profiles should be consulted.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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