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The latest police apprentices have started their studies at De Montfort University and sworn an oath of allegiance to the Queen at a special attestation ceremony last night (Wednesday 6 November).
The 23 students start their ‘Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship’ (PCDA) as fully warranted officers. The three year course, which began earlier this month, consists of 80% on-the-job training with Leicestershire Police and 20% of their time spent studying at DMU.
The degree is approved and fully funded by the College of Policing and the students earn a salary of between £18,450 and £25,270 during the apprenticeship. The course covers areas that are critical to effective policing in the 21st century, such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people, dealing with cyber-crime and crime prevention.
DMU’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme is led by Jim Holyoak, a former police superintendent with nearly 35 years’ experience in policing. He said: “Degree apprenticeships take longer than the traditional route, but this recognises many of the complexities that we expect our officers to be able to deal with in modern policing.
“Previously, police recruits were trained very differently with a short period of training before going straight into the workplace working alongside a tutor. Apprentices learn through an approved programme, jointly delivered by DMU and Leicestershire Police, building knowledge and experience to deal with that complexity before they go into the workplace and need to deal with the most challenging and often fraught situations.”
Kerenza Patecka enrolled on the course after spending years as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) patrolling Rushey Mead. Before that she had a career in retail. Kerenza said: “I love working out in the community and have always received great support from the people on my beat. They were so welcoming when I went to community events. People know you and they recognise you.”
Other students applied for the degree apprenticeship straight after completing their A-levels. Areeba Mahmood said: “I am so excited to be here because I applied a year ago and the selection process was quite tough. I’ve always wanted to work in the emergency services and I’m looking forward to being able to get a degree and be a police officer and not end up with lots of tuition fee debt.”
Chief Constable Simon Cole QPM, said; “We are delighted to welcome our latest apprenticeship recruits to Leicestershire Police. The introduction of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship provides an exciting opportunity for talented people to get a degree whilst working and earning and we are pleased to be one of the first forces in the country to offer the PCDA in partnership with De Montfort University. I wish them all the very best and hope they enjoy their career with us.”
Leicestershire’s PCC, Lord Willy Bach, said: “The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship provides an alternative route into policing, which helps us to broaden the diversity and skills of our workforce.
“I would like to congratulate everyone passing out today. They will have further training to develop their skills and career prospects in the coming months and years, but today, they should all be proud of their achievement and I was delighted to be here to congratulate them personally.”
The students will be at DMU for nine weeks of training and then they will go into uniform for workplace rotations.
Sam Harris also applied after finishing his A-levels. He said what appealed to him about policing is doing something different every day. “I like the fact you can go to work and not know what you’ll be doing, and also helping people,” he added.
To apply for the PCDA starting in October 2020 please go to www.leics.police.uk/joinus