...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
Unique Learning Experience
Akeem Griffiths’ university experience was quite distinct from that of his fellow undergraduates.
In his first year of a three-year police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA), Griffiths learned a range of practical skills, from first aid and applying handcuffs to understanding policing laws and effective interview techniques.
The apprenticeship, fully funded by the Metropolitan Police, offers a starting salary of over £33,500, including allowances, and culminates in a degree in professional policing practice upon completion.
Growing Popularity of Degree Apprenticeships
Policing apprenticeships are part of a growing trend of degree apprenticeships sought after by young individuals who aim to avoid significant debts, acquire a high-level qualification, and gain practical experience simultaneously.
From the outset, apprentices are employed as paid officers and spend the majority of their time working alongside experienced colleagues in their designated boroughs.
They also dedicate time to studying policing laws and regulations and working towards their degrees at partner universities.
Practical Training and Reassurance
Griffiths is part of a cohort of 30 recruits at Anglia Ruskin University’s east London campus, with around 70% of the group aged 18 to 22.
The initial 17 weeks of the PCDA were spent on campus, providing a strong foundation in modern policing.
Officer safety training was emphasized, which reassured Griffiths’ initially concerned mother about his safety.
Following the university phase, trainees spend 10 weeks achieving their Independent Patrol Status (IPS), where they participate in real-life scenarios under the guidance of instructors.
Once IPS is achieved, they join the front line with support from experienced officers and team colleagues.
Intermittent University Study and Shared Experiences
Throughout the three-year course, apprentices periodically return to university for further study, allowing them to reconnect with fellow students.
This provides an opportunity to share experiences with officers deployed across London, highlighting the diverse encounters officers face depending on their boroughs.
Griffiths finds this aspect rewarding and values the chance to connect with peers on the same journey.
Analysis and Commentaries:
The introduction of degree apprenticeships in policing offers a unique pathway for individuals interested in law enforcement.
By combining practical experience with academic study, these apprenticeships provide a well-rounded approach to learning, enabling recruits to immediately apply their knowledge in real-life situations.
The focus on hands-on training, including officer safety and practical scenarios, ensures that apprentices are well-prepared for the challenges they may encounter on the job.
The appeal of degree apprenticeships lies in the opportunity to earn a salary, gain valuable experience, and acquire a degree without accumulating significant debts.
This model is particularly attractive for those who may not have previously considered pursuing a degree or who prefer a more practical learning environment.
The support and guidance provided by experienced officers throughout the apprenticeship further enhance the learning experience and facilitate a smoother transition into active policing roles.
The testimonials of individuals like Akeem Griffiths, who advocate for the benefits of degree apprenticeships in policing, emphasize the accessibility and opportunities available through this educational route.
By promoting apprenticeships as a viable alternative to traditional degrees, the police force can attract a diverse range of candidates who may have previously been deterred by the financial burden associated with higher education.
The introduction of policing degree apprenticeships contributes to the professionalization of the police force and offers a promising avenue for individuals interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement while obtaining a recognized qualification.