Public Services students sniff out career opportunities

Back row, left to right, students Rebecca Fuller, Josh Wilson and Lewis Gibson, Craig Tupling Deputy CEO of Bradford College, students Jamie Allinson and a member of prison staff.  Front row, left to right, George and Barclay.

Students seeking careers in the uniformed services were given an insight into prison work when some furry important guests visited Bradford College.

Two prison sniffer dogs from HMP Manchester, and their handlers, came to give a demonstration to students on the Public Services course at the college.  

The dogs, Springer Spaniels George and Barclay, showed how they searched places and people, including prisoners, staff and visitors, to sniff out not only illegal drugs, but also alcohol, tobacco and mobile phones.

Their handlers spoke to the students about careers in the Prison Service advising on training, workloads, salaries and progression opportunities in the service.   

Public services tutor Conrad Williams said: “It was wonderful to see the dogs work, freezing when they found the planted drugs and it was fascinating to hear from the prison staff about what their job entails, the challenges and the opportunities.

“Visits from people doing the job in real life have real value to our students. It brings the career to life for them.

“Whilst most of our students have already decided they want a job in the uniformed services, many have not yet chosen whether that is with the police, fire and rescue service, ambulance service, armed forces or prison service and visits such as this go a long way to helping them chose the path that best suits them.

“Seeing the dogs in action gave the students a great insight into the work. Some students were even used to demonstrate how visitors were searched.

“The feedback from the students was excellent. It really opened their eyes to employment opportunities within prisons. It is a service that is less visible than others. I am very grateful to the staff, and of course George and Barclay, for giving up their time and visiting Bradford College.”

Rob Young, Governor of HMP Manchester said: “Prison officers provide an incredibly important public service; rehabilitating offenders to lead crime-free lives upon release, meaning fewer victims and safer streets.

“There is no such thing as a typical prison officer. We welcome people with different experiences and backgrounds, because they create strong teams that can take on the role’s challenges. There are opportunities to specialise and develop throughout a prison service career, like our dog handlers have done, which is just one of the reasons more than 4,300 extra people have joined the service since 2016.”