Traditionally, apprenticeships were on-the-job training for young people, typically aged 16 to 24. This is not the reality today. We now have equivalent educational levels, from GCSE Level 2 to degrees up to Masters level and there is no upper age limit.
We've been running our own apprenticeship programmes since 2020. In June that year our first students began the new three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and are now set to graduate in summer 2023. Since then we have trained a further 400 new police officers, half of them taking the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.
Policing is a brilliant career option to 'earn while you learn' and we have a number of recruitment campaigns each year, with different entry routes available.
Our Apprenticeship Consultant Lucy Jeske works with apprentices training to become police officers or PCSOs, as well as officers and staff who want to take an apprenticeship to help them perform better in their current role. Here she introduces National Apprenticeship Week
An apprentice is employed as an employee by an organisation.
Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes which combine on-the-job 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.
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.
The College of Policing introduced a new, professional framework for training police officers and police staff in 2020, setting professional qualification levels for the police service.
The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) was the first apprenticeship programme introduced in Wiltshire in summer 2020, in partnership with the University of South Wales (USW).
It was introduced to meet the need for policing to have consistent, national education levels and an entry level qualification commensurate with that of a profession.
You will need to be at least 17 when you apply and 18 when you start training and will have a Level 3 qualification (or equivalent) as well as Level 2 in English and Mathematics or equivalent prior to entry.
The PCDA takes three years and at the end of the course successful students will be awarded in Professional Policing Practice by our training education partners The University of South Wales.
The DHEP route takes two years and successful applicants are awarded a Graduate Diploma in Policing Practice.
Typically a PCSO will be 18 or older, and will have achieved a Level 3 qualification (16 UCAS points) or equivalent and a Level 2 in English and Mathematics (or equivalent) prior to entry.
The apprenticeship will take around a year and at the end of the course a Level 4 Higher Education Certificate in Community Policing Practice will be awarded by our training education partner the University of South Wales
are 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification
already have a level 3 qualification or higher but earn below the National Living Wage annually
already have a level 3 qualification or higher but are unemployed
In some areas, there may be a slightly different low wage threshold. Check with your local training provider to find out the low wage threshold in your area.
For more information on qualifications needed to become a Police Officer please visit the educational requirements on our Police Officer careers page
Your apprenticeship won't cost you anything. It is funded by the Government and will cover all the costs of your training.
For all successful students, there is a job for you at the end of your apprenticeship.
You will receive the same holiday entitlement as most paid employment – on average 25 days paid holiday per year, plus Bank Holidays.
Your employer is fundamental to your apprenticeship. They give you on-the-job training and experience to support your career, while paying your wage.
Your employer will also ensure you have a manager to guide you throughout your apprenticeship. All our apprentices are also assigned a one-to-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 competent workforce.
Earn while you learn
The Government has set a public sector target to employ more people in apprenticeship schemes, with employees released for up to 20 per cent of the working week for training.
Apprenticeships offer great opportunities for employees to learn new skills and work towards a qualification while being paid, supporting personal development and helping staff retention.
We report to Government annually on the proportion of apprenticeship new starts.
Percentage of apprenticeship starts, including new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship (as a proportion of total headcount)