Police apprentices: three perspectives

In September 2018, Nottinghamshire Police’s first cohort of recruits for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) started. We caught up with Rosalee, Charlotte and Jonathan about their experiences so far.

​Why did you want to join the police?

Rosalee: I joined Nottinghamshire Police because I wanted to help my community by providing a safe environment for everyone. I also wanted to be that person that others could look up to, but most importantly I wanted to help break the negative cycle held within my community of the police.

Charlotte: When I was 14 I was a victim of a crime and the impact the police had on my life was life changing and I wanted to have the same impact on other people's lives as they did mine.

Jonathan: After serving in the armed forces and then doing normal civilian work for a number of years, I wanted a new challenge in which I could help the public whilst achieving my own personal goals. I had previously tried applying for the role of police constable but was unsuccessful so joined Nottinghamshire Police as police staff to gain some experience and knowledge of how Nottinghamshire Police worked. This only increased my determination to apply again for the role.

What was your background before joining Nottinghamshire Police?

Rosalee: I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica, where I spent the first 22 years of my life. After finishing high school I attended an Agricultural Vocational Training Academy where I learned various skills within the agricultural industry. I then went on to college where I did a Diploma in Agricultural Management. On arrival in the UK I had various jobs and I found my passion when I worked as a Safety Patrol Officer.

My circumstances changed when I became the proud mother of a jovial, loving and smart boy. I needed to work to support my new family and I sought employment as a community support worker and I really enjoyed doing it. I love helping the service users I had to take care of; at the end of every shift I was satisfied that I've made a difference to someone's life. I decided to attend college to gain some more qualifications and I did my GCSEs. I then went on to do an Access course and then applied to my local university where I started a Law and Psychology degree.

Charlotte: I have worked since I was 15. I started off as a pot washer, then was in retail since I was 16 until I joined the police force.

Jonathan: Before joining Nottinghamshire Police as police staff and now as a police constable, I was previously a personal trainer and involved in the fitness industry as an athlete, in which I completed the 24km SAS fan dance in Wales for Help for Heroes and promoted for BodyPower UK LTD (The biggest fitness and sports expo in the UK).

Prior to this, I had also worked in the print and design industry for two companies involved in retail, government and public services print. I also served for five years in the armed forces and studied public services at college.

Why were you interested in doing the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)?

Rosalee: I was interested in doing the PCDA because I found it to be the best route for getting into the police force. It also gives me the opportunity to complete a degree course and achieve my goal of becoming a police officer at the same time.  

Charlotte: The PCDA was advertised at the right time for me in my life, and I like a challenge so I knew the apprenticeship would challenge me.

Jonathan: I had planned to apply via the standard route of entry as I am currently studying with Open University. I had decided to start a second degree in policing part time with Portsmouth University as I found that I could manage home study alongside work. However, I was then advised about the PCDA, which would be taking applications during February 2018, with a planned start of September 2018. This seemed a great option of combining study alongside work and cut down the time of my study from six years to three, whilst working in the role I was already working towards.

How did you find out about the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)?

Rosalee: I found out about the PCDA from the Job Centre as well as attending the workshops set up by the recruitment team for Nottinghamshire Police.

Charlotte: I am a Nottinghamshire Police cadet leader and I heard about the PCDA through that.

Jonathan: I was currently working as an Enquiry Officer with Nottinghamshire Police at Mansfield police station front counter and was informed of the plans for the PCDA by a colleague at the time, who will soon be lecturing us at the university. I then contacted talent support by email for information and attended seminars and meetings and decided that this would be the best route for me. I applied and was lucky enough to make it through all stages.

What have you found challenging?

Rosalee: What I find most challenging is sometimes the work load. However, as you settle into training school and university, you will find that the information links together, therefore making it a bit easier.

Charlotte: University is hard work and on top of being a full time police officer - challenging at times. I am worried about when I become operational how I am going to keep on top of the work load.

Jonathan: I have found all aspects challenging so far as there is a lot to learn in the 22 weeks of phase one training alongside the university work. However, I am looking forward to learning more from my tutor, shift and sergeant in February.

What are you enjoying about your role?

Rosalee: What I enjoy most is the learning; everyday there is something different and interesting being taught. I enjoy meeting new and interesting people.

Charlotte: In December I went on a night time economy shift which was really fun, I enjoyed it and gave me a good insight to the operational side of the job.

Jonathan: I am enjoying the learning phase which I am currently in at Hucknall College of Policing and have two experienced and helpful tutors. I have been on my first night time economy shift which I found interesting and a great insight into my tutor phase which begins in February.

I am also enjoying the university work as I feel that it allows me to undertake my own research into policing and look in more depth at the role and history of the police. I have just completed my first two assignments which I am waiting for feedback and scores on. I have found the lecturers to be extremely helpful and have their own policing experiences.

Also due to being in the first PCDA cohort, I have enjoyed giving my feedback and talking about my experience to new potential candidates at the recruitment seminars and to members of other police forces looking to implement the PCDA in the future.

Find out about Charlotte, Jonathan and Rosalee experiences six months later.

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