In October 2011 I applied to join the Met Specials having decided that I would be able to spare at least 8 hours per week on average (so double the minimum). As I work shifts, which include weekends, I negotiated with my employer who kindly allowed me to change shifts to enable me to attend the weekly Sunday training course for 23 sessions. I passed all stages of the recruitment process. Vetting was a fair shambles; they kept us all in a room for an hour whilst they made sure all details on everybody’s forms were complete and legible but despite this managed to sit on mine for 3 months before the vetting lady calling me in a panic to say that she was unable to read the email address of one of my referees and didn’t want to send it to the wrong person. By this time, the referee was on holiday and unable to access his emails until after the deadline and I had to hastily find another referee during my lunch hour, which by some miracle I did. Otherwise I would not have been able to do the course and those careful negotiations and arrangements with my employer would have been in vain.
I was allocated a date to start training and felt able to complete the course and be posted to borough comfortably without it having an impact on my work. However, on the induction day we were given a printed timetable for the course by one of our many tutors (never saw the same one twice) which included a number of weekends where we would be training on both Saturday and Sunday. Members of the class soon raised this with the tutor (A Sergeant of 25 years experience) who was just as unaware as we were that the timetable for this supposed Sunday course contained a number of Saturdays. I silently wondered to myself whether in her long career she made a habit of handing out, say, briefing notes at a briefing without having the faintest idea of the contents. I went apologetically back to my employer and requested the necessary changes which were granted and began the course.
A number of the double day weekends were one following another, rather than being evenly spread throughout the course, meaning that I had one block of 23 days where I was either working or training. This was not what was agreed and I got to around day 18 and felt so tired that if I did not rest for a day I was in danger of a serious lapse due to fatigue. At this point I should explain that I am a bus driver, so while you can probably get away with drifting off occasionally if you work at a desk, in my current line of work, such lapses can have horrific consequences. I felt duty bound to give my apologies and miss a day’s training (I have an obvious responsibility towards passengers and other road users). With this day to make up and another block of 18 days solid I asked to put my training on hold. Unfortunately, there were no courses running throughout the summer of 2012 due to the Olympics and they stipulated that I would have to restart the course from the beginning because of the time that would have elapsed. So now I find myself in the position of having to re-start the course which I cannot do because I cannot get the time off again as the Met have frankly blown the opportunity for me by being so disorganised. You have to complete your training within a year and this is almost up so I now have to resign and go through the whole recruitment process again if I want to join again. I feel so annoyed by this as I considered carefully whether I could manage the training and the actual duties once attested. Had I known that it would be a Saturday AND Sunday course I would have delayed applying and not wasted the one off opportunity of having the time off work which is not on offer anymore as in my work’s eyes I blew it and dropped out. Only I didn’t blow it, the Met did. Does anyone have any ideas on how to approach this? I kind of want to get my views across but don’t want to blow future chances, or can I submit one of those Fairness at Work things mentioned in other topics on here? With my age (34) I feel I am running out of time to join the Specials and hopefully progress into the regulars. Thanks All.