I saw the advertisement in the local paper and decided this was something I wanted to pursue. I applied through Publicjobs.ie and from there did the exam. Following this I was selected for interview.
Throughout the whole process I was informed of my progress on the publicjobs website at all times. Following the interview I was informed I was successful and from there I had to attend a medical. Within a few weeks I started training in Beladd House.
Describe a typical day?
No two days are the same, in fact things can change from one minute to the next. There is a great deal of variety in the job and each day you are assigned to a different task. These tasks range from working on a landing, in the school, gym, waiting room, escort duty to hospital or court etc.
Each day presents different challenges and the main thing to remember is to use common sense and fairness at all times. Be vigilant at all times and learn to think on your feet. The job can present many challenges but it can also present rewards.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Our main task is to provide a safe and secure environment for those in our care. Therefore our main task and responsibility is to carry out this service to the best of our ability.
Ensuring that this is carried out effectively can take on many different roles. You learn to be a listener, a strong communicator and a problem solver. You provide those in your care with the basic requirements they are entitled to and ensure that each prisoner is treated in a firm and fair manner.
What are the main challenges?
As a female officer I suppose the main challenge is the volatile environment. A situation can go from calm to stormy in a heartbeat. You have to stand back and access the situation in order to deflate it, and use common sense to ensure the problem is safely and securely dealt with. I would say that as an officer you are more mentally challenged rather than physically. You have to be mentally alert at all times.
The things I like best about the job would be: Job Security. Financial Security. Variety. Challenge. Availability to education. Availability to progress.
What's not so cool?
I suppose looking at the heartache and stress that is placed upon some of the families. In a lot of cases families are involved in the system involuntarily. Another thing would be the long hours. However the system does provide you with flexibility. It balances out with Max time on and Max time off.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I would have an administration background and I have found this to be of great standing to me. I use these skills on a regular basis- working in the Waiting room processing visitors and working in the Visiting area processing professional visits.
I would have strong communication skills from dealing with the general public on a regular basis and this has enabled me to use this background to my advantage. I was always a problem solver and again this would enable me to deal with a situation fast and effectively. I also have a First Aid Qualification which has come in useful on many occasions.