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Spotlight: the prison officer online assessment centre

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Male prison officers sitting in classroom at training

Applying to be a prison officer? Read this handy guide to our online assessment centre process so you know what to expect.

The online assessment centre (OAC) is a key stage of the application process to be a prison officer. While you don’t need specific experience, qualifications or education, the OAC assesses whether you have the necessary abilities, behaviours and strengths needed for the role. As it’s online, you can complete it from the comfort of your own home and all you’ll need is a laptop/PC with a webcam.

Accessing the OAC

Once you’ve successfully completed the first 2 stages of the prison officer application process – online application and scenario-based test – you’ll receive an email inviting you to book onto your OAC. You’ll then be sent a link to join your confirmed session.

What to expect on the day

Your OAC will take about two and a half hours to complete.

  • It will start with an introductory briefing and an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.
  • Following this, you’ll complete a number of assessments designed to reflect some of the situations you will face when working as a prison officer.
  • Once you’ve finished, you’ll have an opportunity to feed back on your experience and ask our team any questions you may have about next steps.

An insight into the assessments

You will need to be fluent in spoken and written English.

1.     Interview

To see if you could be a prison officer, you will be asked questions about:

  • your strengths and what motivates and energises you
  • how you would act in specific situations

2.     Role play
This will look at how you would handle a situation that is based on real challenges you could face as a prison officer. You will be asked to take on the role of a prison officer interacting with a prisoner.

3.     Written test 

You will be asked to consider 2 situations you might face when working with prisoners, and write your response. 

What if you don’t pass your OAC?

Preparing for your OAC and need more information?

Visit our dedicated online prison officer application centre for:

  • top tips to help you prepare 
  • details of what documents you’ll need to have available on the day
  • frequently asked questions and lots more helpful information

Try our interactive online activity to give you more of an insight into what it’s like working as a prison officer.

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