'I hope I become as great a police officer as the people I'm learning from.'
Ashleigh is a trainee police officer, studying a BA (Honours) Professional Policing Practice degree apprenticeship.
'You need 100% commitment, but you will get 100% satisfaction in the end, in a career with so many opportunities.'
Ashleigh Travers had always had the goal of becoming a police officer. Before joining the police force, she worked as a safeguarding and behaviour year manager in a secondary school. Ashleigh enjoys supporting and helping people - so going into policing felt natural. She decided to go down the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) to achieve her goal.
'There were several applications and online assessments to complete and an assessment centre, which I attended in Durham. There was a fitness test, written tests, Maths and English tests, and the final stage was a 40-minute interview. I can't say the process was 100% easy, but it was all worth it in the end.
'There's a lot of learning involved. This has been partially done at home, through the university website and at the Police Training Centre. I have found seminar days, where the group are brought together, the most beneficial. It gives you a chance for collaborative learning and to share ideas. Learning the legislation is vital and stands you in good stead for district and to put the learning into practice in real-time. I have found it easiest to learn in a classroom environment with trainers and learning from each other.
'In the first year, there has been a lot more academic study and training with 25 weeks of on the job learning. There are more weeks at district covering neighbourhoods, response, and investigations in the following years. Being at district has been excellent. I spent 10 weeks at a busy neighbourhoods policing team (NPT), dealing with warrants, hate crimes, and proactive policing, and I am currently responding to 999 calls. Every day is different, and you don't know what to expect next.
'I am working in Sheffield District and from a busy station, both at NPT and on response. Both teams I have worked with have been great. I feel fortunate to work with many people who want to help and support me and my learning. My tutors have been fantastic and wanted to test my knowledge and understanding and push me further.
'From University, we have a course leader, who is also my academic adviser. I am the class representative, I have worked a lot with her. She has been very supportive from the start, not only with academics but also in a non-work capacity. My trainers have been excellent. They are the perfect pair - supportive and make the days fun.
'Every day is an achievement. Every time I receive good feedback from my tutor and am told I have done something well, it makes it worthwhile and helps me grow in confidence daily. All I can hope for is that I become as great a police officer as the people I work with and are learning from.
'If you're thinking about joining South Yorkshire Police my advice would be just go for it. Don't hesitate or be deterred by the process. At 34, it's probably been my most challenging year so far. I am completing a degree, working and learning as a student police officer, juggling family and home life as a single parent with a 4-year-old.
'My first year is nearly complete, and I am so proud of myself. If I can do it, you definitely can! You need 100% commitment, but you will get 100% satisfaction in the end, in a career with so many opportunities.'
Work while you study on a degree apprenticeship to become a fully qualified police officer for South Yorkshire Police.