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Former soldier from Kendrew Barracks starts a new career as a prisoner officer at Stocken Prison in Rutland

A former soldier who joined the prison service after 25 years in the army is encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.

Mick Jefcoate began working at Stocken Prison in 2020 after serving with The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

Having previously ruled out the career change, he decided to give it a go after realising how many other ex-servicemen had made the move.

Former soldier Mick Jefcoate became a prison officer
Former soldier Mick Jefcoate became a prison officer

Mick said: “I had no plans other than being a soldier but the prison service came up when I was looking for a career after the army. I always said it wasn’t a job I could do and I wouldn’t be interested in, but when I read into the profiles of the role and saw there were a lot of ex-forces in the job, I decided to apply and here I am four years later.”

The 51-year-old served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia before two tours of Afghanistan. He finished his army career at Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore.

The skills he developed in the army made the transition to prison officer a smooth one via the government’s Great Place to Work scheme. Veterans who join the scheme and meet the minimum criteria will secure an interview for most vacancies across the civil service.

Former soldier Mick Jefcoate became a prison officer
Former soldier Mick Jefcoate became a prison officer

Mick’s role involves taking steps to reduce the risk of suicide and self-harm among prisoners.

He said: “The team is close-knit and the camaraderie and teamwork helps us to overcome the more challenging days. We shouldn’t sugar-coat the challenges of the job but you absolutely can and do change people’s lives.

“The advice I would give someone who is thinking of joining the prison service is to be open minded. Prisons are not what you see in the films. The prison service can offer you the work-life balance you are looking for - interesting and busy with a great comradeship.”

Anyone interested in a career at Stocken Prison can find out more at www.prisonandprobationjobs.gov.uk

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