As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2023, officers from The Metropolitan Police Service visited West London College to tell students about pathways into policing, including the Met’s Police Constable apprenticeship. Twelve officers who have worked in many varying roles across the Met took time out of their busy schedules to talk about their fascinating careers.
From firearms to counter-terrorism, mounted police and dog handling the message was clear; there are a huge variety of roles carried out by the 32,000 serving police officers in the Met and the officers all love their jobs.
Inspector Nikki Clarke-Rogers talked about the pathways to joining the Met Police, including its exciting Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). Those who join the apprenticeship programme are a Police Officer from day one, earning a starting salary of around £33,500 whilst learning on the job alongside the support of experienced officers. A degree isn’t necessary, as the programme is specifically designed for those without, and on completion of the training, individuals will be awarded a fully funded BSc (Hons) degree in Professional Policing.
For those who may not have had the opportunity to gain a level 3 qualification – the minimum academic criteria required to become a police officer – Nikki also explained that the new Met Officer Gateway Programme (MOGP) enables individuals to achieve this and progress to the Met’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.
West London College students also heard about the opportunities to join the Met’s Voluntary Police Cadets (VPC) for those under-18 years as well as volunteering as a Metropolitan Special Constable, sometimes known as ‘The Specials’.
Nikki joined ‘the Specials’ when she was 18 and joined the police force after completing her university degree.
Nikki said: “I joined aged 21 and later got married and had kids. At every change in my life, I was able to find a different, exciting and suitable role in the police force to fit in with my work and life needs. The variety and opportunities to progress your career in the Met are second to none and there’s a huge support network around you. It’s very rewarding to know that you are making a difference to the lives of others every day, and the Met is determined to rebuild trust with Londoners.”
West London College students also heard from Sergeant Brett Grant of the MO7 Territorial Support Group. His job is concerned with maintaining order in violent demonstrations and is also trained to deal with crimes involving chemicals or radioactive materials.
PC Neil Fyfe works in the Dog Section which supports all other police departments. Dogs are trained from sniffing out drugs, bombs, cash and digital evidence to chasing down criminals. Neil said: “I have a German Shepherd, I got him when he was 8 weeks old. If you like dogs it’s a great job.”
Constable Christopher Price trains police officers on how to use firearms. He explained how his colleagues support all front-line officers within the Met from core teams to planned operations. He said: “We are trained to a very high standard. You do not have to be the fittest person, but you have to be able to think and work under pressure.”
Some of the students at the talk were from the West London College Uniformed Public Services course. Public Services Level 3 students Hala Kanaan and Sophie Gorrod both want to become police officers.
Sophie said: “Before I came today I was sure I wanted to work in forensics but after listening to the variety of careers you can go into within the police service I am not sure any more.” Hala agreed: “I had a fixed idea about joining the police service and working my way up to become a detective, but there’s so much more for me to think about now.”
Public Services Level 2 student and Class Rep, Francisco Cabral said: “I’m trying to decide between becoming a paramedic or a police officer. I was amazed to find out about all the different opportunities in The Met though.”
Public Services Level 2 student Fouad Mohammed-Yassin said of the event: “It was fun. I enjoyed hearing the experiences each of the officers told us.”