This week (6 to 10 March) is National Apprenticeship Week and to mark the occasion four apprentices on the Suffolk Constabulary scheme have been describing their experiences.
The Suffolk apprentice project looks to provide young people with experience in policing whilst studying for a professional qualification. It provides them with a wide range of workplace skills, and enables the staff members supporting them to build on their supervisory and mentoring experience.
The four are all studying for Pearson BTEC Level 2 Diplomas, two in business administration and two in customer service.
They are employed for 12 months and spend time within three departments as part of the scheme. The business administration course involves time in Community Safety, Executive Services and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The customer service course sees the apprentice working with the Specials and Volunteers Team, HR and finance. Throughout their time with the force, the apprentices are supported by tutors at Suffolk New College and supervisors within the Constabulary.
HR Business Partner and Apprentice Scheme lead for Suffolk Constabulary, Rhiannon Day said: “Our apprentices are settling in well and are starting to learn the ropes of the departments in which they are based. This is such a positive project for us as it as it brings fresh perspectives and experiences into our teams. It also introduces these young people to the workforce, and starts to equip them with the skills they need to progress in policing and in other sectors.”
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: “The apprentice scheme for the force is a welcome addition to what we can offer the public in terms of opportunities in joining the police family.
“It is very pleasing to see that the Ellie, Sophie, Jake and Kelssey have all settled in so well to their roles and enjoying their experiences. I wish them well for the rest of their placements with the force.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Supporting our young people and giving them a step onto the employment ladder is hugely important to me so I am delighted that between the Constabulary and my office, we are able to offer apprenticeships for the first time in many years.
“Suffolk Constabulary is a multi-million pound business in its own right. From day-one I made a commitment to support the local economy and providing employment to the community we serve is an important part of this.
“I look forward to welcoming the business administration apprentices into my office later in the year. I am sure their enthusiasm and fresh ideas will make a very positive difference to us, so it’s very much a win, win for all concerned.”
Ellie Anthony: Business Admin Apprentice
Since starting at the police I have been based in the Community Safety Department at Landmark House. I have had the opportunity to shadow colleagues and attend meetings where I have taken minutes which will help towards my coursework. I have also had the opportunity to visit Bury St Edmunds police station. I enjoy getting out of the office and meeting new people. I’ve also helped give a diversity presentation to new PC recruits. At first I was nervous to be given a speaking role, but I’m glad I agreed to do it. It was thanks to my colleagues who supported me and gave me useful tips that I successfully delivered the presentation.
I will soon be going out with the Community Speed watch team. I will hopefully be getting some hands on experience in catching speeding drivers in the Monday morning rush hour. My plan for when I complete my apprenticeship is to become a PCSO.
Sophie Peters: Business Admin Apprentice
Since starting my apprenticeship, I have been based within Executive Services. The team always made me feel welcome and supported me whenever I needed the help. I had the opportunity to visit the Contact and Control Room and Police Investigation Centre which was a real eye opener. I have also recently carried out some work with local policing in Felixstowe which I found really interesting. I am now organising the long service awards ceremony which has taken up the majority of my time and I have thoroughly enjoyed this.
Kelssey Steele: Customer Service Apprentice
I was completely shocked to find out that I was successful in applying for the scheme and was so grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity. The customer service role really appealed to me as I have always been interested in criminology but also wanted to work with and alongside people, especially by trying to offer them a service which would be beneficial to them.
I have started my placement in the Specials and Volunteers team and I have been made to feel so welcome. I’ve already learned so much and can’t wait to continue learning and developing my skills. In my first week I’ve shadowed during interviews, written minutes for our team meetings, replied to emails and edited files.
Jake Barker: Customer Services Apprentice
The scheme appealed to me as a chance to enhance my skills in certain areas, but also to contribute to the successful running of the police force in my local area.
I have started my role with the finance team. I will be working in corporate accounts, accounts payable/ receivable and payroll. I hope to learn certain aspects of each of these areas such as the management of invoices and debtor requests, and how payroll is controlled. My second department will be Specials and Volunteers. I’ll then further my knowledge in this area with my final placement in the HR service centre.
As I am enrolled on the apprenticeship until February 2018 I am looking to apply for other roles based at PHQ in the future. However, I am ‘testing the water’ with my ongoing apprenticeship to see which may be the best fit for myself and the Constabulary.
Pictured left to right: Sophie Peters; Ellie Anthony; Jake Barker; Kelssey Steele