Custody officer at Gatwick Airport gains promotion after apprenticeship with CCCT

National Apprenticeship Week, 6-12 February 2023

A former police officer has told how taking an apprenticeship with Capital City College Training (CCCT) led him to promotion in his new in career working in immigration at Gatwick airport.

Dave Hopper, 44, joined professional services giant Mitie as a Detainee Custody Officer in 2020 having previously worked for Kent Police and in the retail, hospitality and logistics industries.

The company’s care and custody division is the largest provider of immigration services for the Home Office, providing care for 13,000 detainees across the UK and overseas.

Dave completed a Custody and Detention Officer Level 3 Apprenticeship in February 2022 and has since been promoted to the role of Detainee Custody Officer Manager.

“At the time the apprenticeship was a part of our training package. I believe greatly in training and relished the challenge,” he said.

“I saw the opportunity to gain skills, experience and ultimately an official qualification. It was a great course that allowed me to work a pace that suited me around my day job.

“The apprenticeship compounds the on-the-job learning by putting it on paper and demonstrating your understanding. It helped me to understand my role better as a Detainee Custody Officer and gave me the confidence to apply for promotion.”

Dave also used the opportunity of returning to college to gain Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths having mislaid his exam certificates from school.

He had no hesitation in recommending CCCT and praised his trainer Sandeep Patel who was “brilliant, supportive and easy to talk to,” from the outset of his apprenticeship.

Dave is primarily responsible for returning people who no longer have leave to remain in the UK and providing them with care and welfare support while they are in custody.

“No person is the same and their circumstances can be very different. Each job has its challenges, and you often have to wear several hats – custodian, authoritarian, shoulder to cry on, a friendly face and someone to offload on,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a cliche but no two days are the same. You can turn up expecting one thing based on your risk assessment and find completely the opposite.”

Dave advised anyone looking at a career as a custody officer needs to have the ability or be able to gain the skills to think outside the box and manage people effectively.

The Custody and Detention Officer Level 3 Apprenticeship covers the role of a custody officer, policies and procedures, security and violence reduction, patterns of behaviour, recognising and understanding mental health issues, caring for the vulnerable, undertaking searches and health and safety.

“There’s a lot to gain from completing an apprenticeship. You’ll learn new skills meet new people, it’ll help you enhance your skills and knowledge and at the end you’ll have some new qualifications to further your career,” said Dave.

“There’s no doubt it assisted me in my promotion to management.”

Find out more and apply for Custody Detention Officer apprenticeships here.

CANDI becomes first London college to offer new Access to Policing course

City and Islington College (CANDI) has become the first college in London to offer a new Access to Higher Education Diploma in Policing to support recruitment to the Metropolitan Police.

The diploma covers key topics for the modern police service, such as ethics, values, communication skills and evidence-based policing. The course also has a section focusing on the importance of community policing and includes additional units on criminology, law and sociology.

The course will give students the skills and knowledge to apply for a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship or other higher education policing programmes.

Students who complete the diploma and successfully apply to join the Met though the apprenticeship may be eligible for reimbursement of a percentage of course fees.

Nigel Lewis, Curriculum Leader for Public Services, said: “London is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world and policing it is no easy task, but I know from my own experience as a former Met Police officer it is one of the most rewarding careers you can have.

“It takes a huge number of people from all sorts of different backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experience to police London. Many people have the potential to be great police officers but don’t yet have the entry qualifications to apply to be a police constable.

“As a police constable, you’ll have the opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of Londoners every day. You’ll build relationships with local communities, reduce crime, support victims and keep people safe. No day is ever the same but every day you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that what you do has made a real difference to the lives of Londoners.”

Access courses are for people aged 19 or over who want to apply to university or other higher education courses but do not have entry qualifications such as A Levels or BTECs, or those seeking a career chance.

The Access to Policing diploma is a nationally recognised qualification and has been developed by the Met and awarding body OCN London.

There are no specified formal entry requirements but there is an expectation that students will have literacy, communication skills and numeracy at Level 2, equivalent to GCSE, or above.

Superintendent Tamsin Jones, Head of the Met Police’s Centre of Initial Recruit Training, who joined as a direct-entry superintendent just over five years ago, said: “London’s communities need more police officers who are as diverse as them, who understand them and who have a real desire to make everyone safer.

“Many people we speak to have a wealth of life experience and other skillsets that would make them fantastic police officers, but they don’t yet have the educational qualifications needed to apply for a career in policing.

“This course is designed specifically for them. The new diploma in policing was jointly developed by experienced Met Police officers and education experts, to help people gain the qualifications and confidence they need to apply to join the Met.

“I truly believe that policing is one of the most fulfilling careers in the world. Each day is different, each shift is challenging and every moment is an opportunity for you to change someone’s life for the better.”

Find out more and apply for the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Policing here.

For more information about Met Police careers click here.

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