I studied the MA in Criminal Justice Studies, graduating in 2006.
My student experience
Having studied a Scottish LLB Law degree, I enjoyed the switch in focus of my studies from case law and legislation to criminological theories that underpin criminal behaviour - it enhanced my research skills and introduced me to an entirely different criminal justice system.
My year studying for my MA was easily the most challenging but also the most rewarding year of my academic career. The staff at the University of Leeds were unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic about their subjects and creative in their delivery style; I couldn't help but be hooked on Criminal Justice.
This course has been has been invaluable to my career after graduation. Having done a Law degree, I knew that being a solicitor was not the career path I wanted to take, although I was considering academia which led me to this Masters. However, at the end of my MA in Criminal Justice Studies, I was so fascinated by the criminal justice system and offending behaviours, I decided to go and see for myself what it was really like "on the front line".
This qualification caught the eye of so many employers, I was getting more interviews than I ever expected! I took my first career step working as a Prisoner Custody Officer. Aside from helping to get this job, my studies at the University of Leeds assisted me in understanding the problem behaviours that I was now seeing by applying criminological theories. It helped me to be a better practitioner and really kick started my career.
I moved on from the Prison after 9 months to a community role as a Drug Treatment Worker and in 2008 I then became a Probation Officer. In this role I was responsible for directly challenging individuals' offending behaviour, support them to rehabilitation and ultimately protect victims and the public.
This was done by assessing and managing the risks posed by the offender, working closely with partnership agencies to manage these risks and through the preparation of Pre-Sentence Reports for the Courts to assist in their sentencing decisions. I was responsible for the enforcement of both Community Orders and Licence Conditions and would prepare reports for the Parole Board, assessing the offenders’ suitability for release into the community.
I have now since changed the direction of my career and have progressed into Learning and Development as a Learning and Assessment Officer. My key responsibilities are to create and deliver innovative training packages to all grades of staff and to assess the occupational standards of Trainee Probation Officers and other staff grades for their vocational qualifications.