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Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

From September 2019, completing a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is the only entry route into a career as a Police Officer with Avon and Somerset Police. All new police officers will need to complete this programme.

Find out if you are eligible to apply to become a Police Officer

What is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship?

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship route into policing is an exciting opportunity for talented individuals from all backgrounds to obtain a degree whilst working and earning a full salary.

The PCDA programme is delivered in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and includes classroom delivery, practical application and tutorship. The programme will be split between the University’s Frenchay and Glenside campuses and Police Headquarters in Portishead.

You will be classed as a full-time student and so will be able to take advantage of student benefits.

Apprentices are not required to contribute towards the cost of their degree but remain in probation for the three year duration of the programme.

Programme hours

As a police officer, you will be contracted to work 40 hours per week and both your classroom and on the job training aligns to these working hours.

Whilst studying, you are required to attend training at UWE Bristol or Police Headquarters Monday to Friday working either 0800-1600 or 0900-1700 as defined by your timetable upon joining.

Whilst in tutorship and working as an operational police officer you will work to a 24/7 shift pattern consisting of 2 early shifts (0700-1600), 2 late shifts (1430-2300) and 2 nights (2200-0700) followed by rest days.

Pay scales

Candidates starting on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship will commence on pay point zero of the police constable pay scales, increasing annually on the anniversary of your joining date.

With effect from 1 September 2019, you will be paid:

  • Year 1 (pay point 0): £20,880
  • Year 2 (pay point 1): £24,177
  • Year 3 (pay point 2): £25,269

Entry qualifications

The apprenticeship involves studying at increasing academic levels over the 3 years, up to degree level. You do not require a degree to join the programme but applicants need to demonstrate this academic attainment level within their apprenticeship.

There are two routes into the PCDA programme:

Route 1:

Applicants will have a minimum of one Level 3 qualification or equivalent.

Route 2

Applicants who have relevant experience must have either:

  • been a Special Constable for the last 18 months and have achieved independent patrol status
  • been in a police staff post with operational experience for at least 18 months (this applies to staff working within the Communications Centre, PCSOs and Detention Officers).

Programme structure

As well as working with an operational policing team, you will complete 4 modules per year, over a three year period, covering 4 key themes of the policing curriculum:

  1. craft skills
  2. vulnerability and risk
  3. occupational competency
  4. evidence based policing.

In your first 13 weeks, you will undertake personal protection training, driver training, system training as well as classroom learning based at Police Headquarters and UWE Bristol campuses. You will then work with a 24/7 response team to put into practice you acquired skills and knowledge.

You are not required to wear uniform whilst in lectures, however you will be required to wear uniform when working on police premises or on practical assessments when directed by your lecturer. Uniform will be provided upon appointment.

Protected learning time

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship requires academic study and assessment so you will receive protected learning time to complete your assignments.

Whilst you will have responsibility to maintain your academic work, we provide least at 20% 'off-the-job' protected learning within your contracted work time. However, as an operational police officer the majority of your time will be spent on building competence in the role and on-the-job training.

Once you have finished your training, we will ensure you have the right technology to help you work as efficiently as possible.

Start dates

Our PCDA programmes run throughout the year. The next available course starts in May 2020.

Eligibility for PCDA

Standard PC eligibility criteria applies for all candidates wishing to undertake the programme.

Candidates offered a place on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship will have they joining instructions shared with UWE Bristol as part of a data sharing agreement under GDPR. No information will be shared prior to acceptance of a formal offer.

Find out if you are eligible to apply to become a Police Officer

Further information about the PCDA

You can get up to date information about Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships from the College of Policing.


Other routes into the police

Currently the PCDA is the only initial training programme run by Avon and Somerset Police. However other routes will be introduced in the future.

They are:

  • Degree-holder entry - If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning. This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice, once you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree - If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing independently at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Find out more about routes into policing on the College of Policing website.