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Advertorial: Making apprenticeships fit for policing

Leading public sector training provider Premier Partnership has teamed up with some of the UK's top universities to create the Police Degree Apprenticeship Consortium.

Advertorial: Making apprenticeships fit for policing

Date - 26th June 2018
By - Police Oracle
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The government has set a target of employing three million apprentices by 2020, at which point having a degree level apprenticeship will be a requirement for entry into the policing profession.

In recent years, police work has changed significantly with officers just as likely to be ‘patrolling online’ as on the street.

The new blended learning Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship qualification is a higher-level apprenticeship that provides the opportunity to gain experience on-the-job in tandem with academic studies.

The apprenticeship will cover areas that are critical to effective policing in the 21st century, such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people in the community, dealing with cybercrime, and crime prevention.

Specialist providers of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship are now gearing up to offer police services across the UK the blended learning qualification for their new recruits and existing staff.

Leading public sector training and apprenticeships provider Premier Partnership has teamed up with some of the UK’s top universities in policing and/or criminology - University of Cumbria, University of Portsmouth, Middlesex University and Canterbury Christ Church University - to create the Police Degree Apprenticeship Consortium (PDAC).

This offers police services across the UK a ‘one-stop-shop’ managed service combining more than 20 years of practical experience of delivering frontline training to public sector organisations including the Metropolitan Police, with cutting-edge academic expertise.

Why an apprenticeship?

The idea behind the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is to level the playing field for people coming into the policing profession to ensure a consistent level of quality across the workforce.

As people delivering a vital public service, it is hoped that a quality, practical, degree level qualification will build public confidence and trust, as well as equip staff at all levels with the skills they need to be part of the police workforce of the future.

So why call it an apprenticeship? There are a lot of misconceptions around the term apprenticeship including that it is a form of training designed specifically for low-skilled jobs – but things are changing. The government and employers have got behind apprenticeships as a key way to fill skills gaps and increase social mobility and productivity for wider economic and social benefit.

As a result apprenticeships have been significantly reformed to include robust on the job qualifications at all levels including higher level degree equivalent qualifications.

In the past, many apprenticeships were not completed or were just used as a ‘short term fix’ to train someone in a low level job. They are now seen as a viable alternative to university and other routes to a successful career.

Employer-led apprenticeship standards have been developed which must be delivered by an approved training provider and assessed by an independent End Point Assessment provider - ensuring that the apprentice gets a properly structured and completed qualification as part of a long term career path.

How to choose an apprenticeship provider

The benefit of the new apprenticeship standards funded by the Apprenticeship Levy and accessed through the government’s digital apprenticeship portal is that employers are given a list of approved training providers for the relevant standard – in this case the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship. This certainly narrows things down and ensures ability, quality, experience and compliance (with Ofsted and relevant regulations) but it can still be difficult to choose the right one from the list.

As with any learning and development partner, it is important to choose a provider that not only ‘ticks the box’ of being able to deliver the standard, but also has the credentials, ethos and specialist expertise to make the experience of undertaking the programme a successful and seamless one for both the employer and the learners – and maximise the return on investment and long term impact.

David Pearson, Managing Director of Premier Partnership, the lead training provider in the Police Degree Apprenticeship Consortium (PDAC), says: “Our extensive experience and ongoing work with the Metropolitan Police makes us the obvious choice for delivery of the new Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and the ‘one stop shop’ learning and development programme has been specifically designed to support, upskill and inspire the police service of the future.

“Our past performance, attention to detail and corporate ethos has resulted in us being the training partner of choice for a range of employers including government agencies, the NHS, private companies, central government, and police services including the Metropolitan Police. We have underpinned a clear set of principles in everything we do, to gain a great depth of experience and industry knowledge, and above any commercial objective is our desire to deliver tangible, long term positive outcomes for our clients. With over 5,000 apprentices currently on programme and an achievement rate of 98.5 per cent, we continuously set examples of best industry practice and growth.”

Experience of successful delivering apprenticeship programmes should not be under-estimated given how rigorous the standards are and the fact that the Apprenticeship Levy is designed to help the government hit its three million target. There are a lot of new providers to the market and even some ‘rogue traders’ so finding one with a strong track record is vital.

Added value is also important. For example, providers like the newly-formed PDAC are at the forefront of the policing profession and constantly looking at new innovations such as use of technology to enhance learning including Virtual Learning and Artificial Intelligence. One-to-one support for learners from a team that will go the ‘extra mile’ is also key to success.

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