A day in the life of a Asylum Transport Assistant (Transport PLUS).
I’ve been an Asylum Transport Assistant (ATA) for just over a year now. I’m based in Dulwich and generally work Monday to Friday, although I occasionally provide weekend cover. My day starts with a team meeting, when the Central Control Centre (CCC) faxes over a service user transport list. This effectively tells us when and where we need to be and who we are transporting. This can vary from one long journey to three or four shorter ones. The longest journey I’ve had to make was Dulwich to Liverpool – a 400 mile round trip.
We provide transport for asylum claimants who have arrived in the country with nowhere to stay. Initially, we transport them from their port of entry to the Asylum Screening Unit (ASU) in Croydon where they are interviewed and this is their opportunity to provide documents to support their application. After this initial screening, claimants who are destitute are transported by us to their accommodation. Asylum claims can take several months and during this time, claimants are expected to attend regular appointments at an Immigration Centre or they may have to change accommodation during this period. All transporting of asylum claimants is undertaken by ATAs and last year we carried out over 85,000 moves, so we are always busy and no two days are the same.
All our movements are generated from the CCC, which ensures the correct number of staff and vehicles are allocated daily. We generally work in pairs but there are occasions when we need a bigger team for the day’s activities. All our vehicles are kitted out with GPS technology.
Many of the people we transport have fled areas of conflict and persecution, they may have children with them and they may be frightened of their uncertain future. We have to be able to treat them with sensitivity and understanding. They are from many different backgrounds and cultures and so it is important to respect this. Good communication skills and the ability to remain calm when a problem arises are vital to this job.
Every day offers a new challenge which gives me so much satisfaction. My biggest challenge to date was when I transported a pregnant service user. Her paperwork said she was eight months preganant, however just as we reached her accommodation, she went into labour! I stayed calm and called the ambulance service, but for a time I thought I would have to fetch the hot water and towels! Luckily the ambulance arrived in time. The good thing about this particular incident was that I got to meet the mother again a few days later with her healthy new born baby.
“I think I’m a good listener and treat service users as I would want to be treated,
especially as they’re often nervous and in a country they don’t know a lot about.”
Asylum Transport Assistant
Asylum Transport Assistant | About the job
No two days are the same for an Asylum Transport Assistant (ATA). You’ll come into contact with people from all walks of life on a daily basis as well as liaising with other G4S colleagues along with a wide variety of other people including immigration personnel and members of the public.
Are you the person we’re looking for?
Being an ATA isn’t always plain sailing. It requires motivation, determination, initiative, adaptability and flexibility. You will be dealing with a wide variety of people as well as following standard processes and procedures in line with training and regulations, so the ability to follow instructions and respond positively is vital. Driving is an essential part of this role and you must hold a full manual licence.
We need people from a broad range of backgrounds with life experience who are good at listening to others, vigilant,
non-judgmental and able to remain calm and in control under pressure. As part of our team of ATAs you’ll face many
challenges so you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and use your initiative.
What will I be doing?
- Transporting service users and their belongings between key sites including ports, airports, asylum screening units and accommodation
- Ensuring the safety and welfare of service users is maintained at all times
- Dealing with vulnerable and difficult service users in a calm and professional manner to reduce risks to safety
- Liaising with the Central Control Centre, other G4S colleagues and immigration personnel
- Preparing documentation and ensuring that all paperwork is accurate and current
- Ensuring the cleanliness and basic maintenance of the vehicle including checking oil, water, tyres and fuel
Frequently asked questions
What are the working hours?
Hours are based on a rotating shift pattern including earlies, lates and nights ensuring that the operation runs 24/7 and 365 days a year. Your working hours will vary in accordance with your location.
Will I be working with the same people all the time?
ATAs work as part of a team to deliver a high quality flexible service. Transporting asylum claimants between key sites including ports, airports, asylum screening units and accommodation, you will come into contact with a wide variety of people every day. The ability to build relationships and trust quickly is vital.
Do I need previous experience in this type of work?
No. We welcome applications from people from all backgrounds with life experience and a common sense approach. Your positive attitude, motivation and non-judgmental disciplined approach are essential to succeed.
What training will I receive?
You will be provided with a comprehensive induction and on-job training as well as formal training in First Aid, Personal Safety, Health and Safety and Advanced Driver Training.
When would I start work?
It can take up to 16 weeks before your security checks are complete. These checks include a 10 year employment history check, a Home Office Baseline Standard Check and an Enhanced Criminal Records Check carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau.
What are the benefits of working for G4S?
We invest heavily in our people and offer benefits that you would expect from a large quality organisation including generous holiday entitlement, life assurance, company pension, sick pay scheme, comprehensive training, career development and a uniform.