Prison work offers flexibility and a steady income

Peter Joyce has relished the opportunities offered by working at Hopkins Correctional Centre.
Peter Joyce has relished the opportunities offered by working at Hopkins Correctional Centre.

REGION - Working as a prison officer helped Willaura North farmer Peter Joyce through some tough financial times on the farm.

The job brought him a much needed income boost and the shift work and flexible rosters allowed him to keep working the family farm.

Mr Joyce started as a casual prison officer at Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat over 14 years ago and he said the prospect of secure employment and a regular income spurred him on to apply for the role.

"We'd had a few tough years on the farm and there were bills to pay. The money from farming just wasn't consistent enough so I decided to supplement our income by working at the prison," Mr Joyce said.

"It worked well as I was able to do more shifts at the prison during quiet times on the farm and when worked picked up there, I was able to work less at the prison.

"After about three months in the job I was really enjoying it and knew I wanted to work full time at the prison. The shift work gave me enough flexibility to run the farm and be there for my kids' school and sports events."

The chance to work with a team of people and develop new skills also attracted Mr Joyce to the role.

"Farming can be quite lonely with long, hard days. The idea of working in a team was very appealing and I knew I had skills and potential that weren't being utilised as a farmer," he said.

Mr Joyce said the seven week prison officer training made him feel prepared for the job.

"You don't realise what a safe environment the prison is until you work there. We have fewer injuries in prisons than most other industries, especially farming," he said.

"I was promoted to senior prison officer, then staff development manager and in the last few years, I am now the prison's planning and performance manager."

Mr Joyce highly recommends a career as a prison officer and says anyone thinking of applying should go for it.

"It's the perfect opportunity if you're looking for extra income, job security, flexibility to still be able to run the farm," Mr Joyce said.

"I love the job and I still look forward to going to work every day. You won't get bored and you will be surprised where a career at Hopkins will take you."

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