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A recruitment drive has begun to find 350 staff for the new Thamesmead prison due to open next March.

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The new Category B prison called HMP Thameside in Griffin Manor Way, Thamesmead, next to Belmarsh prison, will be run by Serco, and house 900 up to male prisoners.

Serco not only needs prison officers but also specialist roles such as physical education instructors, catering and security staff, dog handlers, chaplains, administrators and drug and offender programme and clerical workers.

Prison director at HMP Thameside in Guy Baulf said he hopes many of the new recruits will be from the local community, adding: “This is a unique environment in which to work and while it can be challenging it is also incredibly rewarding. We are looking for people who can help us build a community within a community, and ultimately help reduce reoffending.”

An intensive 10-week course will need to be taken for those in custodial roles, covering control and restraint, plus a two week placement at an existing prison.

The prison was due to be ready last year (2010) but now it is not due to be finished until February 2012. The main construction work has finished with only internal building work left. A spokesman for Serco said the opening was delayed due to the General Election last year.

To apply for a role visit www.hmpthameside.org/index.php

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