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“I absolutely love my job. Seeing the difference I can make is so special.”

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Community Payback, Personal stories, Probation

"I can’t make people change, but I can help plant the seed and support them to do so."

Community Payback (CP) supervisor Jane gives us an insight into her work, the skills she brings to the role, and what she loves about it. 

Read on to see if it’s for you, find out more and take a look at our current vacancies. 

Why did you decide to become a Community Payback (CP) supervisor?

Having been a self-employed book-keeper and accountant for a number of years, and now that my family have grown up, I wanted a change. I was looking for a secure job where I could work regular hours and take paid leave.

I also wanted to help people. An opportunity to make a difference at a difficult time in their lives.

What does a typical day as a CP supervisor look like for you?

I supervise groups of people on probation doing unpaid work to pay back the community for the crimes they’ve committed. I work at a range of locations including allotments, public parks and cemeteries. Work at these CP projects usually runs from 9am to 4pm.

I’ll get to the site I’m working at that day at least half an hour early so I’m ready for when my group arrive. Once everyone has put on their high vis jackets and work boots, I’ll give them an induction on the tasks they’ll be doing and how to safely use any equipment we’ll need. Then I spend the rest of the day working alongside them, maybe doing gardening,

or clearing overgrowth or litter – whatever needs doing. I take time to speak one-on-one with individuals who I’ve maybe noticed are a lot quieter than usual or seem to be struggling.It’s an opportunity to find out what’s going on in their lives and what additional support they might need. And to signpost them to services in the community or maybe to courses where they can learn skills to increase their chances of paid work.

At the end of the working day, we clear up and put away our tools. And I make a point of telling the group what a good job they’ve done. I think that’s so important for their feeling of self-worth and ongoing engagement in CP.

What skills and experience do you bring to the role?

I’m a mother, a grandmother, a sister and a daughter. I have a lot of life experience to draw on. I can see how people get into trouble, and how they stay out of it.

My job is about being human: recognising that we can all make mistakes but can learn from them and change. I can’t make people change, but I can help plant the seed and support them to do so. Sometimes, all people need is a bit of one-to-one attention and a chat about their personal circumstances to make them stop and think. And I’m good at that, I’ve done it all my life.

I see my job as helping people see what they’re capable of and building on it. Learning new skills and the discipline of going to work while on Community Payback can really help them focus on turning their lives around.

What makes a good CP supervisor?

People skills. Good communication and the ability to build working relationships with a range of people from different backgrounds is so important. You need to be able to get the best out of people while you’re supervising them. Focus on how you talk to them and how they react to you. How you motivate them to do their unpaid work tasks and keep coming back each week. You need to be firm but fair. Set clear boundaries and be able to stop any bad behaviour or negative attitudes from getting out of hand.

And you need to be non-judgemental. People make mistakes and commit crimes because of things that are going on in their lives. Our role is to support them to move forward.

What do you like about working as a CP supervisor?

Getting the people on probation in the groups I’m supervising interacting and working well together.

The real job satisfaction is when someone takes the time to say, ‘see you next week’ and asks how I am the next time they see me. Then I know I’ve made a connection with them and that they’re more motivated to complete their Community Payback. It’s great when you see that change in someone who was previously dragging their feet and not co-operating.

I really enjoy working outside on projects. I’ve learnt a lot more about gardening since I started in this job, and my health is so much better now I’m more active.

I absolutely love my job. Seeing the people on my groups keep turning up for their unpaid work, and how they react to me is so special – knowing that something I’ve done or said has made a positive difference.

Apply today and be the difference

CP supervisors play a key part in supporting people on probation to do unpaid work to improve local communities and get their lives back on track. It’s varied, meaningful work with job security, a great pension and employee benefits.

If you're a people person and looking for a rewarding career, find out more and take a look at our latest vacancies.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Peter Maxwell posted on

    I've always respected my probation officer and companies like that assist a lot of offenders reclaim their life following imprisonment or time in prison. I even want to be one if they give me the opportunity to give back to the folks who helped me alter my ways.