“I joined the prison service in the late 1980’s” says Walter. “I was in my early twenties when I joined. You sign up for thirty years and I stayed on for an extra two. I enjoyed it. There was a great camaraderie there. You were relying on lads to look after you. They had your back.”
Walter says that when he started working in the prison service, it was “a little hairy” and “not like it is now”. He explains that simple changes such as in cell sanitation and the introduction of televisions in cells changed the whole dynamic of prison life and stopped people from taking things too far.
“…they were very keen on looking after their staff. They also had a wealth of experience and the interview process was very much a two way thing. It felt comfortable.”
“There was always the dark humour there,” says Walter. “There were terrifying things but there were also some funny things. I enjoyed my time there and I really learnt a lot.”
The skills and life experience that Walter gathered during his time in the prison service were one of the reasons Provincial snapped him up.
“I applied for the job with Provincial because I had heard good things about them,” says Walter. “In the interview with the HR team I got the feeling that they were a little smaller and they were very keen on looking after their staff. They also had a wealth of experience and the interview process was very much a two way thing. It felt comfortable.”
Walter is now part of a great team on one of our new sites just outside Dublin.
“It’s great to get in at the start of a new project/contract,” he says. “It means you can grow with the building. You can see it as it is being built and be part of its inception. I get on very well with the team there and it’s a great mix of people.”
For people currently working in the prison service who might be close to retirement or on the lookout for a change of career, Provincial is a perfect fit according to Walter.
“I recommend it for anyone thinking of coming out of the prison service,” he says. “Particularly those who joined the service pre 95 because they can work and still get their full pension. So it is great for people in that situation. You do have to get your PSA licence of course but really that’s just about formalising the skills that you already have as a prison officer - the observation skills and attention to detail, teamwork skills and just your basic street smarts.”
While the 58-year-old is a champion of prison officers, the importance of life skills and the experience he gathered before he entered the service gave him a solid grounding.
“Life skills are a must when you’re a prison guard. I had various jobs before I joined. I worked in bars and factories and it taught me a lot in terms of being able to deal with people. Being able to say no but without causing upset and being able to diffuse a situation is what all security is about when it boils down to it".
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