Take a Look Inside QCS officer profile

Education Officer Rufus has dedicated her career to helping others through education, and her current role which supports students in prison is one she undertakes with passion at Wolston Correctional Centre.

Rufus said Education Officers work to build students up by teaching them transferrable skills, self-belief and confidence to empower them to take charge of their own destinies and change their lives for the better, which ultimately results in safer communities for everyone.

“We work tirelessly to offer a glimmer of hope to prisoners, which in our case is often to those who have had a previously negative experience or perception of the education system. Education both empowers and enlightens,” Rufus said.

“My role is to facilitate education to prisoners, which involves motivating, supporting and inspiring them to engage in study.

“A large part of my day involves talking to prisoners who may not be aware of their options for engaging in education or the benefits gained from progressing their studies.”

Rufus said research suggested that prisoners who engaged in education when in custody were significantly less likely to reoffend and employment opportunities dramatically increased when they were released back into the community.

“‘Successfully engaging in education can also boost self-confidence, self-identity and self-esteem which can all contribute to a successful reintegration into the community and the fostering of pro-social relationships,” she said.

“It can also positively influence other prisoners and the prison regime generally.”

Rufus joined QCS 15 months ago after a fulfilling career working with international students and refugees within the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector, but with the closure of international borders and the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she was forced to look for work outside of ELICOS.

“I was fortunate to be offered the chance to work in a very unexpected place with an amazing team of people at Wolston Correctional Centre who provide mentoring, support and on those challenging days, (and there are a few!) humour,” she said..

“The biggest challenge and delight in my role as an educator generally, is the people I deal with. I have a phenomenal team and supportive manager and love meeting people from all walks of life.

“I’m so happy and honoured to be working in a new field and developing myself as a person and educator. I have been supported to design and implement innovative and exciting projects such as the Green on Green Peer Tutor training course, Drama Club and the Work It! employability course.

Rufus said in her short time with QCS she has learned that demonstrating positivity and pro-social behaviour and being compassionate and transparent in dealings with prisoners wins more battles than it loses.

“As someone who recently moved into this industry, I can honestly say to anyone considering a career in QCS – don’t hesitate. I feel like every single day I make a difference for the better and am genuinely changing lives. There aren’t many other roles where you can have such a powerful impact on the lives of the people you work with and the wider community. Qualities, skills and attributes are eminently transferable. If you believe in the rehabilitation of prisoners, the power of change and that everyone deserves a second chance – this job could be for you.”

Rufus is originally from the north of England and has lived in Queensland for around 10 years. In her ‘spare’ time she is a barista and general dogsbody in her partner’s café, fanatically follows Norwich City Football Club and adores travelling and terrible puns!