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North Yorkshire Police’s first cohort of apprentice police officers graduate

North Yorkshire is set to benefit from 29 newly qualified police constables thanks to a partnership between The Open University (OU) and North Yorkshire Police (NYP).

The recent graduation ceremony for the first two groups of Police Constable Degree Apprentices was held at the Harrogate Convention Centre. All the graduates completed their studies with the OU whilst working full-time as police officers.

The blended programme has been collaboratively designed and delivered by the OU and College for Policing as one of the new routes into policing introduced under the Police Education and Qualification Framework.

NYP is the largest geographic police force in England and Wales, serving a diverse mix of people in both rural and urban communities and responding to a wide range of complex incidents.

The Open University has an established history of providing supported distance learning suitable for working professionals, this made it a natural fit for the North Yorkshire Police force which employs learners from across the region who already manage busy work and personal commitments.

Lisa Winward, NYP Chief Constable, said:

The learning that the officers will bring with them from their Open University course into policing means that they can use that theory on the streets every day. So, when they are interacting with members of the public and keeping our communities safe, they’ve got all that knowledge in the background that they’ve gained on this three-year degree course.

The College of Policing wanted to professionalise policing, and the apprenticeship is a great way for people who want to gain a qualification in a way that balances and blends the working experience of being a police officer alongside the qualification they can gain.”

Jennifer Norman, Head of Policing at the OU, said:

A huge congratulations go to the graduates. Studying for a full-time degree and working full time as a police officer is no mean feat. They have so much to be proud of with achieving their degree qualification. I wish them well as they progress through their career in policing.”

Fionn MacDonald, Practice Tutor at the OU, added:

I have enjoyed working with the enthusiastic student officers, watching them develop their potential and gain their well-earned qualifications with the OU. I feel sure they will create a positive impact on communities they serve.”

The OU’s Department for Policing team were joined by Chief Constable Lisa Winward, Superintendent Jason Dickson, Inspector Lee Partridge and Learning and Development Manager Catherine Convery-Brown in the graduation procession. They celebrated each of the graduate officers as they received their degree award from Professor Dev Kodwani, the OU’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law.

Local MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, also attended the ceremony and spent time hearing more about the partnership. He said:

I was delighted to attend the recent degree ceremony in Harrogate and to witness first-hand the life-changing learning The Open University provides. I have always been an advocate for apprenticeships and the partnership between the OU and North Yorkshire Police is a great example. I wish all of the graduates the best of luck for the future.”

This article was originally published on the OU news website; click to read the original article.