The professional training programme for probation officers launched in 1998 has been given a seal of approval following a quality assurance exercise. The assessment panel set up by the Community Justice National Training Organisation reviewed the Diploma in Probation Studies, which is a qualification in work with offenders and leads to an academic degree.The Diploma takes two years to complete and the first graduates completed the programme in autumn 2000. It combines Community Justice Work with Offending Behaviour and a degree in probation studies. The programme recruited almost 300 trainees in each of its first two years and has expanded to over 1000 in the current year.
The quality assurance team found that 85% of the first group of trainees had successfully completed both parts of the programme. Indications are that about 14% of this group will graduate with first class honours.
The programme aims to give the most up to date professional training in working with offenders to change their offending behaviour and lead productive and law abiding lives. The qualification integrates the occupational standards required by employers with a rigorous academic programme.