University Vice-Chancellor shadows police constable apprentice as part of National Apprenticeship Week

7 March 2019

The University of Derby’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Kathryn Mitchell has been out on patrol to find out more about the work of police constable apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week (March 4-8, 2019).

Professor Mitchell shadowed PC Joseph Cunningham from Derbyshire Constabulary, one of the first officers of the new Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), accompanying him and his tutor on patrol in Erewash and spending time experiencing how the force responds to incidents. 

The PCDA provides an exciting opportunity to become a paid police officer while gaining a fully-funded policing degree from the University of Derby. PC Cunningham has successfully completed the first set of academic assessments on the apprentice programme, which started in September 2018, and has been operational with his tutor since the beginning of February.

Professor Mitchell said: “It was fantastic to meet one of our Police Constable Degree Apprentices in their working environment and witness the roles they undertake on a daily basis.

“Taking part in the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme is an exciting opportunity for people to achieve an academic qualification alongside supportive real world learning. At the University of Derby we are proud to be pioneering practical Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, designed in conjunction with employers to embed new skills and grow talent in the workplace.”

The University of Derby is the first in the country to offer a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), which gives students an 80/20 split between core police offer training and classroom learning, spending blocks of four to six weeks on attachment with each of their force’s teams and departments.

Currently, the University has 68 Police Constable Degree Apprentices from both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Constabularies. The course is three years long, during which the apprentices cover a range of policing areas such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people, and dealing with cybercrime and crime prevention.

PC Cunningham said: “I would highly recommend people undertaking a Police Constable Degree apprenticeship; it requires hard work to combine operational duty as well as academic work but when I finish, I will have a degree as well as lots of experience behind me which will offer many options for me in the future.

“Since starting the programme, I have dealt with a variety of different situations, which have tested my ability and communication skills. I’m enjoying every minute of it and feel fully part of the team.”

Tony Blockley, Head of Policing at the University of Derby, added: “The purpose of the visit was to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, our partnership with Derbyshire Constabulary as one of the first force in the country to implement the PCDA, and to raise awareness of the University’s apprenticeship provision.

“Working with Derbyshire Constabulary creates a unique opportunity to enhance the knowledge and experience of the officers that will benefit them, the police services and the communities they work in.”

Sergeant Rachael Delaney, who leads on training in Derbyshire, said: “The first year of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship in Derbyshire is progressing really well.

“We’ve had some really positive feedback from the students, who are currently coming to the end of their first attachment with Local Policing Units across the county.

“Derbyshire was one of the first forces in the country to launch the PCDA, which has allowed us to further develop our working relationship with the University of Derby, who we continue to work closely with on their BA Policing degree.”

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the University is inviting businesses to drop in and speak to its Apprenticeships Team about upskilling new or existing employees and how to access funding. Find out more information about National Apprenticeship Week events at the University. 

Find out more about Apprenticeships at the University of Derby

Professor Mitchell with PC Cunningham from Derbyshire Constabulary
Professor Mitchell with PC Joseph Cunningham from Derbyshire Constabulary

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