Rebecca Blockley




Rebecca enrolled on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship while working as a prison officer at HMP Dovegate. For her apprenticeship project, she successfully pitched to invite local assistance dog training charity, the Restart Dog Project, into the prison – a scheme which proved to have a significant benefit on prisoners’ wellbeing.  

I hadn’t known what career I wanted when studying for my A-levels and decided that university wasn’t the right path for me. I came to regret this later on.   

When the Serco Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) was introduced at HMP Dovegate in 2017, I jumped at the chance to gain the degree I thought I had missed out on. I had just returned from maternity leave after having twins and wanted to set them the example that it is never too late to learn.  

I was determined to reduce incidents of self-harm and suicide in our prison. I had researched the positive effects of animals in rehabilitation and, for my apprenticeship project, put together a business case for bringing in an assistance dog training programme. My idea turned out to be incredibly successful: at the start of the programme, prisoners rated their mental health as a 4 out of 10. Their latest ratings show that this is now 8 out of 10.  

The CMDA qualification was also pivotal in my promotion to senior project manager at HMP Dovegate. A picture of myself at my graduation ceremony with my children by my side now hangs on my office wall and brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. 

Amy Crabb, Learning and Development Director at Serco, said:  “Rebecca has used what she has learnt to bring about a substantial and long-lasting positive impact on her workplace, her colleagues, her community and herself. She gives prisoners, to use their own words, hope for something better.”