We've introduced a new AI-powered search function on our website. We hope you find it useful. The system will learn as website visitors add searches... so please give it a try.

Lara Falkner

Professional Policing BA (Hons)

View the course
  • Course Studied: Professional Policing
  • Year of Graduation: July 2020
  • Current Job title:  Owner of my own baking company, Student Success Mentor at the UON, and Supervisor at Sainsburys.
  • Organisation/Company: Amore Bakes, University of Northampton, and Sainsburys.
  • Industry sector:  Public sector and Higher Education

Your University Experience

Why did you pick this course?

I had always been interested in the law, why people commit crimes and the theories behind it and working within an environment where every working day would be different. I knew I wanted to work for the Police, and I wanted to study a degree where it was both hands on yet provide me with the opportunity to gain a degree. This course offered exactly what I wanted, with close professional links with Northamptonshire Police and the chance to apply to volunteer as a Special Constable.

What aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most, and why?

The course was taught by serving and retired Police officers, along with other industry professionals. I had such supportive lectures who supported me through my studies along with being able to join and volunteer as a Special Constable putting what I had learnt from my classroom into real life scenarios.

Your Current Role

What is your current role?

I currently work as a Student Success Mentor here at the university within the Faculty of Business and Law. I work closely with Programme leaders across a variety of subjects, some of which include Accounting and Finance, Law, Marketing, Banking and Financial Planning and Business Studies. Moreover, I also work closely with students either on a one to one basis or in small groups, across all three years, offering bespoke confidential support and help them get back on track with their studies. This helps them navigate student life, including providing advice and support whether this be to signpost to additional support services the University has in place to help resolve any issues within a students’ personal life, which may have an impact upon their engagement at university.

Why did you choose to become an SSM?

I personally loved going to university and being a student at the UON. I decided to become a Student Success Mentor as I have always loved helping and supporting individuals and wanted to offer support to students through their time at university.

Your University – Career Journey

How do you think that your study has helped your career or personal development?

During my time at university I was given the opportunity to apply to become a Non-Independent Special Constable for Northamptonshire Police. I worked my way up and took part in an extensive 4-month contract working full time within the Response Team and became a Fully Independent Constable, meaning I was able to attend incidents and call outs by myself. Managing my own workload, safeguarding members of the public and helping them in the event of an emergency.

After graduating in July 2020 with a first-class degree, I continued to volunteer as an IP Special Constable for another year building and expanding upon my skills but later made the decision to leave as I wanted to gain more life experience. During my time working for the Police, I won three separate awards and acknowledgements which included:

  • Special Constable of the Year award
  • Certificate of appreciation
  • Recognition of good work award.
Describe your career progression so far, and any plans you have for the future; are there any particular hurdles you may face?

After leaving, I decided to set up my own Cake Business which I have expanded and grown into a well-established company over the last year, run through an array of different platforms such as Just Eat, Uber and Deliveroo. I have also now started up on Etsy and employ my own team who work alongside me. In October 2021 I started working for the University of Northampton, as a Student Success Mentor within the faculty of Business and Law and alongside of this, I have been working as a Supervisor for Sainsburys for the last five and a half years.

Excitingly however, I have just accepted a new job role working for Coventry University London, as a Student Success Coach. Where I will be supporting students to achieve their education goals, making sure they have all the necessary tools and support they need to succeed, delivering pro-active coaching and mentoring and working closely with them on a one to one basis from their very first day to graduation. I will continue to run my business as I am fortunate enough to have a team who support me.

Which if any skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree are useful in your work role?

The course is fantastic, and you gain so much experience which you can use in everyday life. This includes multi-agency working, report writing, laws and legislation, increases your confidence and increases your ability to problem solve when working under pressure.

What extra-curricular activities did you participate while at University, i.e. sports, volunteering, placements?

I volunteered for Northamptonshire Police.

How did these extra-curricular activities impact on your career prospects?

Without having volunteered for the Police for 4 years I don’t think I would be where I am today and in the position I am in. I am so grateful as during my time working for the Police, I grew so much as a person and learnt so many transferable skills.  Some of which include multi-agency working, being able to adapt to change and make decisions under pressure, and teamwork.

Your Advice

In one sentence, what advice would you give to undergraduates interested in this work e.g. tips on gaining entry, accessing opportunities, anything you wish you had known earlier?

Need to be very well organised, adapt well to change, self-motivated and hard working.

In ten works or less how would you promote the University of Northampton to prospective students?

Some of the best years, I’ve made friends for life, and gained a fantastic degree.

In ten words or less how would you summarise your University experience?

“A lot of hard work, a lot of stress but it was all worth it in the end.”