As part of National Apprenticeships Week, we are looking at the opportunities West Midlands Police creates for apprentices to start a career in policing.
In 2020, WMP employed its first ever Apprenticeship Manager to look after the force’s 850 apprentices – including the 830 student officers who have joined under the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, since we adopted the new national entry routes in 2019.
Natalie Roberts is based at our Birmingham training centre and, as a former apprentice herself, understands the needs of some of our newest colleagues.
I joined West Midlands Police in 2020 as PEQF & Apprenticeship Manager. My role involves the running of apprenticeships within West Midlands Police ensuring we are compliant with regulatory requirements. I support the growth and delivery of apprenticeship programmes by engaging with external training providers, the Educations Skills Funding Agency, apprentices themselves and different internal and external stakeholders.
This usually involves a catch up with a department to discuss the progress of their police staff apprentices, meeting with regional forces to discuss and share best practice on different aspects of apprenticeships including end point assessment and compliance. I regularly catch up with an external training provider on existing apprentices and plans for the future and, importantly, I’ll be logging in to our digital apprenticeship service account to get funding to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment costs.
What have I been involved in?
I have been involved in the design, planning, facilitation and monitoring of apprenticeships. I have recently taken over the regional lead for some aspects of apprenticeships including end point assessment and compliance. I am working on our apprenticeship strategy for the future to ensure our apprenticeship levy expenditure is used in the most cost-effective way possible. I am a firm believer that the right apprenticeship programme can equip a workforce with practical skills, contribute to productivity, growth and overall success of an organisation.
How did I end up as an apprenticeship manager?
I started my career many years ago as an Apprentice Training Coordinator for a training provider. I have now worked in the field of apprenticeships for almost 20 years (how did that happen?!). I was first drawn to an apprenticeship rather than University as a way of earning and learning at the same time. I have since gone on to complete other apprenticeships including in management, which allowed me to build my confidence as a manager and gave me practical skills on some core management basics. I spent 13 years in Merseyside Police working is HR and Learning and Development before moving to the West Midlands in 2020.
If you’d like to know more about careers with West Midlands Police, visit our Careers website today.