Former soldiers could soon be patrolling the halls at a north-east super jail.
HMP Grampian is involved in a scheme to give ex-servicemen and women a glimpse of what it is like to be a prison officer.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is taking part in the Ministry of Defence’s career transition partnership, a service for employers wishing to hire ex-soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The Peterhead facility will be hosting an insight day event next week as part of the scheme.
Although there is no suggestion from prison bosses of a staff shortage at HMP Grampian, they are actively recruiting prison officers.
It comes just a few months after figures obtained by the Press and Journal showed more staff at HMP Grampian have quit their jobs than at any other prison in Scotland.
The statistics show that since the £140 million super jail opened four years ago 66 prison officers resigned from their posts.
HMP Grampian has around 235 prison officers looking after 424 inmates.
Last night, north-east politicians welcomed efforts to boost staff numbers.
Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “Our prison staff do a fantastic job in what can be very difficult circumstances.
“The problems at HMP Grampian have been well documented, and the jail has the highest turnover of employees anywhere in Scotland.
“I hope that will not put people off, however.
“When I visited earlier this year, I was very impressed with the commitment and professionalism of the staff.
“I would encourage anyone interested to go along and find out more about the opportunities available.
“The jail needs good staff and a positive working environment if it is to succeed in rehabilitating offenders so they can be integrated back into society.”
Labour MSP Lewis MacDonald said HMP Grampian had faced real challenges with recruiting and retaining staff, in common with other public services across the north-east.
He said: “I welcome the Scottish Prison Service’s initiative to recruit more local officers and staff, and I hope they are successful in filling many of their vacant posts.
“What we really need, though, is a coordinated approach by the Scottish Government to address the challenges faced by so many public agencies, whether that is the cost of living in Aberdeen or the location of the local prison.”
An SPS spokeswoman confirmed details of their involvement in the jobs scheme.
She said: “SPS are looking to support the transition of armed forces veterans into other routes of employment and are providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the different career options and prospects within the Scottish Prison Service.”