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Starting a new job, or a new career, can be as daunting as it is exciting

Following on from last week’s blog about how to get a probation job role, we now turn to what the early part of your working life as a probation officer will be like and how to meet the initial challenges and opportunities.

Calming those first-day nerves


It’s a case of knowing what to expect on the first day as a probation worker - how to make a good impression, how to get to know people, the questions to ask, and help calm those first-day nerves.

You’ll have questions in your own mind: who will your new colleagues be, what will the working environment be like, how can you make the most of your first day…how can you survive?

To help, we asked Tina Williams, vice chair of Napo - a trade union and professional association representing over 8000 members working in probation and family courts - for some tips and advice on your first day and she came up with easy-to-remember steps – based around five key words - that will help launch your career as a Probation Officer. Her advice is:

1. Shadow


shadowing your colleagues will enable you to observe different ways of communicating with people when having what are often difficult conversations;

2. Harm


Being a Probation Officer is all about assessing and managing the risk of serious harm that a service user poses to others or themselves. Reducing the risk of reoffending will reduce the likelihood of an individual causing harm to anyone and thus, ultimately contribute to the protection of the public: think about harm.

3. Ask


ask questions. For example, the Probation Service has a multitude of acronyms that you will soon become familiar with. Ask what they mean.

4. Research


in every office there will be resources that you can access that will guide you with your practice. Find them and use them.

5. Empathise


reflect on what the service user is experiencing, how the offence impacted on the victim and the families involved. What obstacles need to be overcome to reduce the risk of reoffending. How can you motivate someone to achieve their objectives?

Share your thoughts and feelings


“SHARE your thoughts and feelings with others, your fellow trainees, your colleagues, your managers,” advises Tina. “Probation practice can be challenging and difficult. It can also be rewarding and gratifying when you have supported someone in turning their life around. “It is okay to discuss matters in the confidential confines of your office with your fellow workers and reflection on your own practice as you blossom into a competent and experienced practitioner is an integral part of your development.”

At Sanctuary, we offer a wide range of probation job roles in the UK. If you’re nervous ahead of your first day starting at a new job, please speak to your consultant who will answer any questions you may have.
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