New officer encourages “rewarding” police apprenticeship route
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“The opportunity to build experience on the job whilst studying is something which I would recommend to anyone,” is the message from PC Lydia Hooley.
She has been speaking of her own experiences in joining the force’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme, where aspiring officers can learn, earn and study on the job.
It comes at the start of National Apprenticeship Week (7 to 13 February), aimed at celebrating the achievements of apprentices across the country.
“It’s an incredibly challenging yet equally rewarding route into policing,” she said.
“Even though you’re a student, you are still treated like a member of the team. You are exposed to everything and have a chance to develop working relationships with the community and fellow officers from the very first day.”
“I worked in the communications team for three years before deciding to take the plunge in September 2021, during lockdown.
“In a few more years, I’ll be signed off and can join the force full time – already equipped with three years of knowledge and experience.”
Aside from her duties, PC Hooley and fellow apprentices are given study weeks, allowing them to dedicate extended periods of time to focus on the academic side of their degree.
She added: “The force has been fantastic in supporting the apprentices and allowing us to progress within our degree.
“There is an element of trust in us which we are always keen to repay, particularly as younger recruits who are progressing each day.
“For me, policing was something which always intrigued me and thankfully the course has served as a perfect foundation for me to build my career upon.”
She said: “If people are thinking about joining the force, particular as an apprentice, I would always say to do it! It’s a fantastic way to get started and a real challenge.”