Avon and Somerset Police recognised in national top 100 apprenticeship listing

Media Relations Team, 20 July 2023

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Policing department at UWE Bristol, Frenchay campus
Policing facilities at UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus

The Avon and Somerset Police apprenticeship programme – Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) – has been ranked 75th in the Department of Education’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Providers list. It recognises the outstanding commitment the service provides to their apprentices and the service was one of only five police services to be included.

PCDAs were introduced as a new route in to policing in 2019. Avon and Somerset Police were one of the first police services to roll them out, partnering with UWE Bristol to deliver the academic classroom-based theory and learning. This allowed the service to focus on delivering the practical on-the-job training the new students needed.

Due to the increase in funding provided by the Police Uplift Programme, Avon and Somerset Police have welcomed over 820 new students on their apprenticeship journey. So far, 211 of the earliest recruits have celebrated their graduation, with over 600 student officers currently working towards completing their three-year degree. The PCDA officers are employed as officers from day one – spending 80 per cent of their time on the frontline, learning from experienced officers.

Louise Hutchison, Chief Officer People and Organisational Development at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how hard teams have worked across the organisation to support the attraction, recruitment, training and development of these officers.

“We’re proud to have been recognised for our achievements with our PCDA programme, working in partnership with UWE Bristol. This listing is also recognition of the hard work our apprentices put in throughout their apprenticeship, to be the difference and serve their communities with pride.”

Professor Peter Clegg, Head of the School of Social Sciences at UWE Bristol, said: “UWE Bristol is very pleased that Avon and Somerset Police has been recognised in this way. We are proud to be in partnership and the strong links we have established at all levels feed into a strong student experience, high quality officers, and a dynamic and collaborative working relationship.”

PC Lee Jones joined as an apprentice in 2020, having previously worked as a social worker. He successfully graduated earlier this year and now works in Response in Yeovil. He said: “I joined the police as I’ve always wanted to make a difference and I’ve always felt the need to put others first and help people. It’s the best job in the world. I was initially hesitant when I first applied, as I was never very academic at school. However, it was the best choice I made, there was so much support available.”

PC Paige Weaver is a current student on the course and joined in 2022. She said: “I felt so proud putting my uniform on for the first time, it felt like a massive achievement to be able to say after all the hard work and emotions I had put in to get there, I could now fulfil my dream of helping to protect the public. As soon as I put my uniform on, I knew I wanted to be the best officer I could, and hopefully become a role model to others, especially the younger generation.”

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