Work experience has become an arresting feature for policing students in Preston.
The undergraduates from the University of Central Lancashire are already getting stuck in after being sworn in as special constables – across two forces.
And they could end up with permanent jobs after graduation.
A total of 36 foundation policing students from the city-based university have been taken on Lancashire Constabulary and British Transport Police to work as specials alongside their studies – 14 working with BTP.
Each student will spend 16 hours a week as a Special Constable during their two-year course, with the option of progressing on to degree level study.
The BTP students were sworn in at a special attestation ceremony when principal lecturer and academic lead for policing Clive Tattum said: “The UCLan foundation degree in policing has a proven and long standing record of preparing students for a career in policing.
“Year on year, our students have found full time careers as police officers with our partner police forces Lancashire Constabulary and British Transport Police, and other police forces nationally.
“This is further proof of the role that higher education has in preparing students for the challenges of policing and serving the public.”
As part of the programme, UCLan and BTP are running a pilot scheme that will see the foundation students offered permanent police officer roles in the force after their course.
The success has led to City and Islington College franchising the scheme, with students being awarded foundation degrees through UCLan and working for their local BTP.
BTP Superintendent Kyle Gordon said: “Special constables are an integral part of the BTP policing family and last year across the UK contributed £3m worth of activity to keeping the travelling public safe.
“Policing is following other public service occupations and professionalising its workforce through the creation of a professional body for policing and an increase in academic utilisation across the ranks.”
He added the courses were invaluable to policing and said: “Linking with high calibre universities such as UCLan is an important part of delivering this vision.
“We are delighted to welcome our latest recruits who will no doubt make a valuable contribution to keeping the travelling public safe and the rail network free from crime.”
One of the new recruits, Emma Lynn, said: “We have already learned a lot during the first six months and I expect we’ll all grow dramatically as people once we begin the job.
“I am looking forward to getting started and being a police officer in training as well as a student.”
Next month, thousands of new graduates will descend on Preston for the university’s annual degree ceremonies.
The city’s Guild Hall will spend five days hosting ceremonies for graduates, watched by their families, from each of the UCLan schools as they received their final accolade after years of studying.
The university will also bestow honorary fellowships on a number of guests.