From the ambulance to the classroom – new lecturer talks about police apprenticeships
The latest recruit to the University’s policing subject team has swapped working as a paramedic and returned to his first profession and is teaching a new generation of ‘bobbies on the beat’.
Damian Hiscocks, Senior Lecturer in Policing, leads the Policing Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) course after previously working as a paramedic for the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The professional switch was not a difficult one for Damian, as prior to his stint as a paramedic he worked in the force for more than 20 years. He said: “I’d taken a bit of a career break from the police to try something new and loved training to be a paramedic at the University and working as one. But when this new role came up it was hard to resist – the time was right to go back into teaching with knowledge of both emergency worlds and train the next generation.”
Policing Apprentices, of which the first cohort is now into its tenth week of learning, receive practical, on-the-job learning at Northamptonshire Police Headquarters alongside academic theory and knowledge given at the University, while also earning a wage.
They have access to the full range of Police training facilities at Waterside campus, including a role-play flat, an interview practice suite and use ‘Hydra’ – an interactive, decision-making and problem-solving system for professionals such as Police officers – the only one at a University in the Midlands and Eastern regions.
Hydra at University of Northampton has recently been updated to the highest specification that is available anywhere in the world.
With the University’s move toward more inter-disciplinary working between Faculty of Health and Society subject areas, Damian’s background as a man with ‘feet in both camps’ means greater joint working for Policing and Paramedic Science students, for instance how to make decisions and work together during major incident scenarios, giving them an extra, employability edge.
Of the first cohort and what makes a good Police Officer, Damian said: “Our current students are brilliant and are all very engaged. It’s quite full-on – eight hours a day, five days a week at two separate locations – but they seem to be enjoying it.
“We have a good, broad mix of students, male and female, but there are some very defined traits and qualities we look for in good, future officers. If you are the sort of person who walks by if you see someone getting beaten up or who doesn’t say or do anything, then perhaps working in the police isn’t for you.
“Fundamentally we want to students who want to help people and not have a standard 9-5 Mon-Fri job.”