Rae-Lynn Hickerson was attending Lethbridge College when a networking day introduced her to some of the many career possibilities.
But it was BC Corrections that really captured her interest.
“I thought it was really interesting,” she says of her impression of the career opportunity with BC Corrections.
A subsequent practicum at Lethbridge Correctional Centre in Alberta settled her professional path.
“One of my passions is helping people so I saw it as a great opportunity to do that,” Hickerson says, reflecting on the education and experience she calls upon in her work. “I get to take what I learned in sociology and psychology and I get to use it and implement it.”
Today, Hickerson is a Correctional Officer (CO) at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, a regional correctional centre that holds inmates of all levels of security that are either serving a sentence or are being held in custody while awaiting court appearances.
Opportunities for career growth
Over the coming months, the BC Corrections’ Adult Custody Division plans to double the number of new officers it typically hires – offering meaningful careers for men and women with the skills and personal qualities needed in today’s peace officers.
“BC Corrections is very welcoming to all walks of life. There are all different types of inmates and everyone reacts differently to different people,” Hickerson says, also pointing to the progressive training, with ongoing education and training opportunities that BC Corrections provides.
“I have always said that our staff are our greatest asset,” says Stephanie Macpherson, Provincial Director, BC Corrections. “We are a ‘people first’ organization – which means we are always thinking of the people when we make decisions, and as we develop our principles, values and goals. People matter, whether it’s the inmate in our custody or our staff who want to help support that person in custody who wants to turn their life around. We continue to invest in our staff to ensure our organization is agile, responsive and able to excel in pursuing its mission of public safety.”
At this point in her life, Hickerson enjoys the four-days-on, four-days-off schedule many Correctional Officers follow – it lets her enjoy all the Okanagan has to offer, or visit her hometown of Cranbrook, for example.
However, BC Corrections’ management also works to find the best options for Correctional Officers whose families’ lives or other needs might require a different schedule.
Flexibility extends to career opportunities within the system, from working in program areas like metal shop, to working in the records department, managing day to day operations and supervisory positions. There’s also educational assistance and a good benefits package and pension plan.
“There are tons of opportunities to move up, if that’s what you want to do,” Hickerson says.
Today, Hickerson looks forward to returning to Lethbridge College’s networking day, this time representing BC Corrections and engaging others with the possibilities.
“You have a real opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, to implement different programs and hopefully prevent them from coming back,” Hickerson says.
“I feel very lucky to be here.”