I applied for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) because I wanted a career that would challenge me while helping people and making a difference in my community. So, when I heard about the PCDA and realised that I could earn a wage whilst learning on the job and gaining a university qualification, I was immediately interested.
On the job learning makes a massive difference – on top of university education, I’m also learning from the knowledge and experience of fully-trained police officers. And that variety keeps me on my toes; moving between practical policing and classroom-based learning allows me to put my knowledge to use.
The community aspect to the work is really satisfying because there’s real diversity to it: you’re a friendly face in the community, a calm voice in a disagreement and a clear head under pressure. You have to use your judgement.
“The thing I enjoy most about the apprenticeship is feeling part of a bigger team”
For me, the thing I enjoy most about the apprenticeship is feeling part of a bigger team. I’m constantly learning, working towards a degree, and making friends with other students in my cohort. Everyone has made me feel so welcome here, and from the beginning, you can feel that you’re part of the team. The support you receive as a Police Officer, from your colleagues and the laws you’re protected by, means that you can focus on being there for people and solving problems in the community.
There have definitely been challenging aspects to the role: settling back into education after a six-year break took some adjustment, and I was worried about being too old, having worked my previous job for 10 years. However, the support provided, in and out of the classroom, has made that transition seamless, even with the change to online learning as a result of COVID-19.
Now, when I consider my career ambitions, I feel like the world is my oyster! On the apprenticeship, you hear about so many opportunities within Merseyside Police, and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m particularly interested in major crimes and protecting vulnerable people, so I’m going to explore options to progress in these areas.
My advice to someone thinking about applying?
“Go for it!”
If you want an exciting role, supporting your community as part of a team, then this is the career for you. From someone who was initially worried about it – applying for this job is the best decision I’ve ever made.