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Ashleigh - Probation Officer (Minister’s Excellence Award recipient)

13 December 2021
Ashleigh Hero

Tēnā koutou katoa,
Ko Kakepuku te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Ireland te iwi
Ko Scotland te iwi
Ko English te hapū
Ko Ara Poutama Aotearoa au e mahi ana
Ko probation officer au
Nō Waikato āhau, Nō Tāmaki Makaurau āhau
Ko Ashleigh Jackson-Lightfoot toku ingoa
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Minister’s Excellence Award recipient Ashleigh Jackson-Lightfoot, has been a Probation Officer for three years. Based at North Shore Community Corrections in Auckland, Ashleigh received the Minister’s Excellence Award earlier this year at her graduation as a probation officer, delayed from last year by COVID-19 lockdowns in Tāmaki Makaurau. Ashleigh shares the following about her career with the department.”I can describe my work life as, ‘Never a dull moment!’”

Kia ora everyone. I’m a former Youthline Youth Worker and Manawanui Support Worker, and my pronouns are she/her. My journey with Ara Poutama Aotearoa started when I was a social work student on a three-month placement at the department. As a student, I gained so much from supporting the people we managed – especially the knowledge that appropriate support can have a positive impact on their pathway to leading an offence-free life.

In my current role, I am part of a mixed sentencing team. This means we support people on probation, who are serving their sentence in the community, such as Home Detention, Intensive Supervision, Parole, and Release on Conditions. I work collaboratively with the people I manage to establish what they need to help them make a fresh start in life. Their whānau are included in this journey too. Some of my responsibilities involve visiting the men, women (and non-binary people) I support at their place of residence to ensure their wellbeing and that they comply with their sentence. I also visit people in prison before they are released, write reports for sentencing, and regularly attend training and professional development sessions.

What I find most rewarding about my role, is walking alongside people, watching them engage in their rehabilitative programmes, and seeing them grow into the best version of themselves. I also love working in a supportive team, especially when we need to manage and mitigate risk.

The department’s culture is warm, friendly, and welcoming and it really encourages all staff to apply the Ara Poutama Aotearoa values of wairua, kaitiaki, whānau, rangatira and manaaki in everything we do. Corrections actively supports and promotes staff health and safety, wellness and wellbeing, and Employee Assistance Programme services. We have staff members representing a wide range of diverse cultures, persuasions and beliefs, and the department promotes an inclusive work environment, through events such as cultural days. On my part, I volunteer as a Rainbow Champion and also have a seat as Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Corrections’ Inclusion and Diversity Council and Rainbow Network Governance.

I thoroughly enjoy my journey with Ara Poutama Aotearoa and so far I have had opportunities that I never could have imagined. Corrections offers staff pay progression, and training and secondment opportunities. For example, I’m gaining skills as a practitioner at present and have learned so much over the past few years. I really can envision myself working at the department for many years to come

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