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Predicting the future


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#1 Northsouth

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:33 PM

Hi everyone.
Hope you can help me, to help my son choose the most appropriate path forward. 
My son is age 15 (in school year 11. GCSE year) and has been keen to pursue a career in the police service for some time. He now has the choice of continuing on to A levels next year or doing an 'equivalent' level course. 
He is very interested in doing a 2 year diploma in public services (uniformed) with the intention of following this with a foundation degree/degree in policing that also involves work as a special. 
Basically the dilemma is, will successfully following the above plan increase his chances of recruitment (over A levels followed by other university course/customer based employment) or just limit his choices? I realise that he's also more likely to work hard at a course that has a clear desirable objective than one I've twisted his arm to take.
I know that at 15, he's still a naive youngster liable to change his mind but he has wanted to become a police officer for a while, despite hearing lots of reasons why it's an awful thankless job and tbh I think he'd suit the job: He has integrity, can communicate easily with all walks of life and would hate to be sat at a desk all day. 
I guess my real question is, where are police force entries headed? 
Is the service in a similar position to paramedics, in that there are now very few apprentice type learn on the job positions and more posts being filled from full-time paramedic university courses that incorporate placements with regional ambulance services? 
Are there moves to get X% of officers educated to degree level? If so, in the current economic climate, why would the very oversubscribed police force pay to train their staff when applicants are willing to take student finance loans to be trained at university? Does anyone know the applicant to place ratios for university policing courses?
Sorry if this post is a bit rambling, but if anyone can enlighten me I'd be very grateful.

#2 SimonT

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:07 PM

It is likely that police will soon need A levels to get in. The best advice should always be get a solid foundation of education so you can get another job should the police not work out or you have to leave.

Going for the police as your only option is not as wise as it used to be.

#3 Tim in the South

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

Further to Simon's post, even if your son, when eligible (age wise) to apply, does apply, there will be many hundreds of other applicants, all trying to obtain that vacancy as a student officer.

I know recruitments (all over the country) have far, far more eligible applicants than places (when they recruit). So, it's always wiser to have options available, so that if he isn't successful for the Police he can use whichever foundation degree / A levels, for another profession.

None of us have a crystal ball to predict the future, but I suspect that when forces start to recruit again, we will see an avalanche of good quality applicants. The last time my own force had a recruitment phase, for every 30 applicants, only one was accepted - which shows the massive popularity or interest in people joining us.

#4 Ces1987

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:24 PM

My advice would be to continue at school for at least another year or do A levels at college or something. Even I struggled with the SET's and I've got a good degree! I can only see them increasing the entry requirements in the future, as the public service is where many of us youngsters look when graduating and looking for reliable employment

#5 jacko6686

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:28 PM

Its more a case of everyone at one point wants to be a police officer. There is no short supply of recruits. Study hard.

#6 Northsouth

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

Thanks for the replies.
We've just been to an open day at our local college and spoke to a tutor for the level 3 public services diploma and were pleasantly surprised. The tutors are almost all previously or currently employed within relevant occupations and previous students have progressed on to a wide variety of university courses (law, business, criminology, social sciences). The students gain insight into many careers and many discover options they never knew existed. I don't feel that this course will narrow his options any more than picking 3 A levels will and if he does still want to join the police force, then he would have access to people who can help him apply for the specials & advise him on the current politics and best way forward. 


#7 Ces1987

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:01 PM

My advice would be to continue at school for at least another year or do A levels at college or something. Even I struggled with the SET's and I've got a good degree! I can only see them increasing the entry requirements in the future, as the public service is where many of us youngsters look when graduating and looking for reliable employment

#8 problem solver

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:36 AM

Tell him to get a job where he will be valued, will earn enough money to keep a roof over his head and enjoy job satisfaction - not currently the Police unfortunately

#9 Kanemartin

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

Trying to offer an exact answer to your questions could be quite difficult but personally my view is such.

I would steer clear of the Public Services degree personally, from speaking to people it doesn't seem the most well respected qualification despite the lectures talking you into it and it certainly gives you no extra step up on other candidates who at current times with Police recruitment have a wealth of experience and knowledge. A-levels are well respected and appreciated across the board should your son change his mind.

Also worth noting that a suggested change outlined in the Windsor report for next August suggests a requirement of three A-Levels A-C or to currently be serving as a Special Constable or PCSO. My personal advice speaking on experience is to go for the A-Levels and try his hardest to become a Special. The wealth of knowledge and experience this role gives you is invalUable and further to that actually gives you experience of the role and will allow you to see whether he Would actually enjoy the job!

#10 Northsouth

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:36 PM

The Windsor report (just looked up) says 3 A levels or equivalent.   
Public services diplomas can be level 1, level 2 (GCSE equivalent) level 3 subsidiary (equivalent to 2 A levels) and level 3 extended (equivalent to 3 A levels). The qualification my son is considering is the latter.
I know the lecturers are there to sell the course but asking questions such as what % of students went where & doing what, on completion, can help give a more objective view of how well the qualification is valued. We asked a lot of questions. 
The lecturer we spoke to said that many students start the course adamant that they want to join the police but during the 2 years discover (though visits, scenarios, guest lecturers) other paths that appeal more.  The students are graded via essays, reports, presentations, role play scenarios and self evaluations. They have a lot of opportunity to experience situations they can use to answer interview questions of "Give me an example of a time when you...."
He also said that wherever my son goes after the course (uni/employment) that he is strongly advised to join the specials if he intends to apply for the regular police service. 
I have 2 older children who took A levels & have gone on to university. Either choice is restrictive to a point and my 3rd child, in many ways brighter than the other 2, is less of an academic & more hands on than his siblings. 
Thanks for your opinions, they have given us food for thought.

#11 Gonnabeareg!

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

I studied 3 A-Levels and got a 1st class honours degree in Business. I knew I wanted to join the Police but as recruitment was rumoured to be cutting down to the point we are today I decided to get experience in otbher areas. Right now I have a decent paying job, do volunteer work for Crimestoppers and am training to be a Special Constable.

Although I am hoping to join as soon as I can I am a while away from a Reg position so I would suggest my approach is the safest as for example if I ever did get in the Police and left I would have more skills/qualifications to rely upon. Also remember that whilst people say a qualfiication is "equivalent to 3 A-Levels" it is just not relevant to the real business world. If your son goes down the route of uniformed services and recruitment stays bad for some time or he fails to get in (it is ridiculously competitive) then he will be stuck stacking shelves or similar until his day comes.

I would advise your son to pick some decent A-levels and apply for the Specials when he is 18 and go through the internal process. In the meantime he can still be earning good money and building a secondary career to fall back on.




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