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The Corporation

Posted: 10/02/22

Apprentice describes ‘motivating’ experience in police role

Motivating, challenging and different every day are just some ways one Nottinghamshire Police apprentice has described her journey, as part of National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February).

  • PC Eden Sisson says getting work experience and a qualification at the same time is a "win-win situation".
  • PC Eden Sisson pictured outside Mansfield Police Station.

Over the past two years that PC Eden Sisson has been on Nottinghamshire’s popular Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme, she has been working in various departments and getting first-hand experience of what it is like to be an officer, all whilst working towards a degree.

Eden is one of the many talented apprentices Nottinghamshire Police has welcomed and whose stories are being shared throughout the week-long campaign.

Eden said: “I saw the PCDA route advertised and immediately put in my application. My cousin is also a police officer so as well as having this positive experience, I knew from them that it was a career to enjoy and be proud of.

“I was slightly too eager though with my timing, and I wasn’t going to end up turning 18 by the time the interviews would take place. So, I waited until the next year, took a year out and found work.

“Being on the PCDA is definitely challenging but it is a great route. I really like it as in a way it condenses the standard path from university to work. You are learning on the job and, for me, I’m still young and it is extremely beneficial time-wise to be able to get this invaluable experience and my degree at the same time, rather than separating them and spending years doing each one after the others.

“I think that is the amazing thing about apprenticeships and especially those that Nottinghamshire Police offers, getting that work experience and qualification at the same time. It’s a win-win situation. I’m personally really looking forward to receiving my degree and knowing I’ve also had three years’ worth of experience at the end.”

By finding the apprenticeship, the 20-year-old turned from her original career plan and says experiencing policing was what made her want to take up policing.  Eden was accepted onto the programme in 2020 and hasn’t looked back.

“During my sixth-form years, I did a lot of work experience and originally wanted to be a primary school teacher and help children and those that were vulnerable. I did, however, quickly realise this wasn’t for me.

“After doing a week of work experience with the police I knew it was where I wanted to be.

“Joining during the pandemic has been challenging, but amazing and eye-opening. You see the effort officers go to when responding to incidents, which a lot of the public don’t see. Seeing how much everyone wants to help those in need really motivates me in both the practical work side and also my degree, which I think is also another invaluable side to being an apprentice.”

The PCDA, run in conjunction with the University of Derby, is one of the many apprenticeships that the service now offers, with even more opportunities to come.

Nottinghamshire Police has also been working hard with West Nottinghamshire College to offer a wide range of staff apprenticeships, including in finance, HR and in media and communications, with a total of 18 active staff apprentices across the service – 15 of which have secured full time jobs in their departments.

Apprentice officer Ron Lawrence said: “Our apprentices are an absolute asset, both officers and staff, and I’m delighted that our continued partnership work has put us in a position to offer so many fantastic opportunities across various departments.

“While the Apprenticeships Week is a great celebration of the ongoing work we do, it really is just a snapshot of what is available, and I’d encourage anyone who has any questions to engage with the content we release and also for anyone interested to keep an eye on our apprenticeships page, where opportunities will continually be updated.

“We have had so many success stories as a result of the schemes we offer, including people going on to full-time employment, and I hope that people enjoy what we share.

“Anyone who’d like to find out more about apprenticeships is more than welcome to get in touch with myself or the apprenticeships team.”

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “It is fantastic to hear of how our apprenticeships are benefiting not only those who take up the opportunities, but also the service as a whole and the departments they’re working in.

“I’m very much an advocate of offering these opportunities. I think it is a great way for people to get their foot in the door and get experience of policing, whether that is staff or as an officer through the PCDA, and no matter their background.

“We are dedicated to being an ‘employer of choice’ and constantly improving diversity and these apprenticeships are another way we can do just that. It’s really pleasing to see that, in a lot of cases, it leads to full time employment with the teams when they have been impressed by an apprentice.

“I’d like to thank Ron and the apprenticeships team for their hard work and dedication with partners to making this happen. I would encourage anyone thinking about a career with us to consider the apprenticeship opportunities we have available, which span over a wide range of departments and roles.”

West Nottinghamshire College’s head of employer engagement, Karen Millward, said: “As a local education provider we are immensely proud of our links into Nottinghamshire Police.

“We work very closely with Ron and our provision into the force has increased beyond imagination. Giving local candidates access to these types of opportunities is a privilege and we are committed to assisting the police to train the next generation to the highest level.”

To find out more about apprenticeships and the opportunities available at Nottinghamshire Police, visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/careers/become-a-police-apprentice