Traditionally, apprenticeships were on-the-job training for young people, typically aged 16 to 24.

This is not the reality today in Wiltshire Police, or generally in the workplace.  Today, they have equivalent educational levels, from GCSE (Level 2) to Degrees up to Masters level and there is no upper age limit.   

The government has set a public sector target to employ more people in apprenticeship schemes. They offer great opportunities for employees to learn new skills and work towards a qualification while being paid, supporting personal development and helping staff retention. During the apprenticeship, employees will be released for up to 20 per cent of the working week for training.

Apprenticeships explained

An apprentice is employed as an employee by an organisation. Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes which combine on-thejob training from experienced staff in the workplace. The apprentice will also undertake off-the-job training with a Training Provider, leading to nationally recognised qualifications. This gives apprentices the unique opportunity to earn while they learn, and gain practical work experience relevant to their desired career path.

It also means employers are able to play a key role in the development of their staff, and build a workforce directly tailored to their business priorities and organisational values.


Any member of Police staff can participate at any age and any Police Officer up to the age of 55 can be an apprentice. 

Length of apprenticeships

Each apprenticeship is different and there is no set time to complete the apprenticeship. In general they can take between one to six years to complete.

Application process

Police staff: We have introduced career apprenticeships for police staff vacancies, aligned to the Apprenticeship Standards.

Apprenticeship opportunities are advertised on our our staff vacancies page.

Police Officers: We now offer a degree apprenticeship for Police Officer training:

  • Police Officer Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). Entry requirements vary from force to force. Typically a police officer will be 18 or older, and is highly likely to have achieved a Level 3 qualification (or equivalent) and Level 2 in English and Mathematics (or equivalents) prior to entry. The apprenticeship will take three years and at the end of the course a degree will be awarded in Professional Policing Practice.


  • Police Community Support Officers: The standard for Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) has been approved and is ready for delivery. A decision is currently being taken regarding a delivery start date. Entry requirements vary from force to force. Typically a PCSO will be 18 or older, and is highly likely to have achieved a Level 3 qualification (or equivalent) and Level 2 in English and Mathematics (or equivalents) prior to entry. The apprenticeship will take one year and at the end of the course a Level 4 PCSO qualification will be awarded.


It won't cost anything. The apprenticeship is funded by the Government and will cover all the costs of your training.


All apprentices will be paid and there is a job waiting for you at the end of your apprenticeship.

What your employer does

Your employer is fundamental to your apprenticeship. They give you on-thejob training and experience to support your career whilst paying your wage.

Your employer will also ensure you have a manager there to guide you throughout your apprenticeship. All our apprentices are also assigned a oneto-one mentor, who will be available to offer advice when you need it.

Apprentices are cost-effective and lead to increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent workforce.


You will receive the same holiday entitlement as most paid employment – on average 22 days paid holiday per year, plus Bank Holidays.

Job interviews

The selection process is the same as applying for a job. You will be asked to attend several interviews and in some cases you will need to sit tests, but these are just to make sure you're right for the position.

Amount of places

The government has set a target of three million new places by 2020, including specific targets for public sector bodies. In 2016, some 491,300 new apprenticeships started in England.

University after an apprenticeship

You can go on to university from an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship or university

Neither route is better than the other. Should you choose not to go to university, work-based learning is seen as a serious alternative. Some individuals find apprenticeships offer the chance to train, learn and earn at the
same time.

Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) 

The College of Policing has introduced a new, professional framework for training police officers and police staff.  It sets professional qualification levels for the police service as a whole by rank or responsibility.  As well as police officer recruitment changes, professional training for many police staff roles, PCSOs and Special Constables will also change over time.  

Why do we need to change policing?

One of the fundamental requirements of a profession is the basis on which practitioners can exercise a high degree of individual autonomy and independence of judgement.

The criteria which define professional discretion can vary, but the common core elements are:

  • a specialist knowledge base
  • a distinct ethical dimension
  • continuing professional development (CPD) 
  • standards of education

Until now, policing did not have consistent, national education levels for all policing roles or ranks reflecting current and future challenges, nor an entry level qualification commensurate with that of a profession.

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is the first new apprenticeship programme being delivered as a result of PEQF and one of three new entry routes into policing we introduced in Wiltshire in summer 2020, in partnership with the University of South Wales (USW). 

See our Police officer careers pages for more information. 

Lucy Jeske

We promote apprenticeships to all our officers and staff and support them throughout the process.

This work is led by Lucy Jeske, our in-house Apprenticeship Consultant who is also currently studying for an apprenticeship qualification.

Current role: apprenticeship consultant

Apprenticeship: operations/departmental manager ILM Level 5

Duration: two years

Format: Online, with face-to-face work with training provider Paragon Skills

Apprenticeship provider: Paragon Skills in conjunction with the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Progress: on track to complete early, coursework already 50 per cent complete. Minimum duration for all apprenticeships is one year and a day.

Emma Ockwell

Emma was our second apprentice and works in our Fleet Team at HQ.

Emma is currently studying with Wiltshire College & University Centre and has already gained promotion internally during her apprenticeship.

Current role: Fleet coordinator

Apprenticeship: Business and Administration (Level 3)

Duration: 18 months

Format: Online and at college every week, plus fortnightly one-to-one tutor visits to Devizes HQ.

Apprenticeship provider: Wiltshire College & University Centre, Chippenham campus.

Progress: Currently preparing for end point assessment, aiming for completion early 2021.

David Eddy

David Eddy was our first ever apprentice and decided to take up the study after taking up a civilian role after many years as a police officer.  He wanted to improve his knowledge in Human Resources and graduated in summer 2020. 

More recently he has gained promotion to become Head of People Development.

Current role: Head of People Development

Apprenticeship: CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management (Level 5)

Duration: Two years

Format: First 12 months one day per week on site, second year on-the-job learning, a final dissertation marked by a CIPD assessor and a professional discussion

Apprenticeship provider: Farnborough College of Technology

Progress: David is our first successful apprentice and graduated in summer 2020.

David Minty

Superintendent David Minty is a senior officer and combines a very busy day job with studying for a Masters Degree apprenticeship. For the the first time in 20 years he is back in the classroom and is fortunate to be able to access the latest research in evidenced based policing in the world.

Current role: County Hub Superintendent - Operation

Apprenticeship: Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship (Level 7) Applied Criminology and Police Management

Duration: Two years

Format: Six two-week residential study periods at Cambridge University and supporting work in the force

Apprenticeship provider: Cambridge University

Progress: Started summer 2020.