Nina Schaff

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Other Industries
Job title: Programmes Facilitator
Subject of study: Sociology & Spanish with TESOL
Year of graduation: 2017
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I worked as an activity camp counsellor for a summer as a lifeguard in America. Then I started on the Unlocked Graduates scheme, working as a prison officer in a young offenders’ institution. I have since moved prison (to be nearer home) and now work in the Interventions and Psychology Department, working with high-risk prisoners on high-intensity intervention programmes.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I chose this career as I initially wanted to go into teaching within the Prison service, but once I worked as an officer, I realised how much more work needs to be done to make the service ‘trauma informed’. I enjoy teaching new skills in a creative way, and seeing people using those skills to change their unhelpful behaviours.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was a member of the Pole Fitness society for my whole time at University, also becoming a committee member of the society in my 2nd year. I also was a part of the Surf Club and BodySoc.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I enjoyed that I was able to study three subjects at degree level, giving me a wide range of knowledge and experiences. Each year, my favourite subject changed depending on what the syllabus entailed.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I loved the green campus and community feel of Exeter in general.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

For me, Exeter was the highest ranking University that offered me the opportunity to study the combination of subjects I chose. Again, the greenery on campus made me feel more at home than a big city University. The league tables also had a big influence on where I applied.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

My year abroad teaching English as part of the British Council has definitely influenced the direction that my career has taken. This alongside studying TESOL in my 2nd and 4th years helped me to develop my facilitation skills.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Go for it!! Prisons might sound daunting, but there is so much to learn from and you’ll never have a job quite like it with the range of roles you have to undertake.

What are your plans for the future?

Hopefully I will progress up the ranks within the Prison Service, to become a Custodial Manager, and maybe even Governor one day! For now, I’m happy to stay working in Interventions and Psychology. I also have an option of doing a MSc Psychology conversion course and becoming a trainee psychologist.


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