The British Army announced that the first wave of apprentices has successfully passed a brand new scheme which complements the training they undertake to become NCOs in the Royal Military Police (RMP).
RMP personnel are deployed wherever the Army is based and, because the Army reflects society, they are expected to deliver the full range of policing functions at home and abroad, often in dangerous operational environments where the civilian police are unable to operate. RMP personnel therefore have to be trained as soldiers and police personnel, and it is vital that their training meets nationally approved standards. The RMP apprenticeship scheme builds on the top rate training that the RMP receive through their early career and reflects the Army’s commitment to Continuous
Professional Development, which ultimately prepares them for transition into civilian employment. The Apprenticeship programme is delivered by Babcock International Group at Southwick Park.
The Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) route to becoming an NCO started in April 2011, as a result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Skills for Justice. The scheme is now used for all RMP recruits, estimated at 135 per annum. As their careers develop, RMP personnel return to the Defence College of Policing and Guarding (DCPG) to carry out further professional development courses and selected RMP will also attend specialist courses at civilian police centres of excellence.
Within the RMP, the role of an NCO is critical. The granting of immediate rank at the end of their training distinguishes RMP personnel from most other recruits in the Army and it recognises the immediate responsibility placed upon them. RMP NCOs have a crucial role providing in police support to the Army, as well a range of specific military tasks (for example, taking a lead role in operational detention).
Qualifying as an RMP NCO is no easy feat. A five month intensive training programme in the Defence College of Policing and Guarding is then followed by a minimum 12 months ‘on the job’ training. These two key elements are integrated with two nationally recognised qualifications; the Diploma in Policing and a specialised Certificate in Knowledge of Defence Policing, which provides a deeper understanding of the NCO’s role within the military.
Both of these qualifications are based on the Policing National Occupational Standards (NOS) suite developed by Skills for Justice, which provides employers in a variety of sectors with clear nationally recognised standards to ensure a person is fully competent within their role.* Linking the Apprenticeship with NOS gives participants additional functional skills which are transferable and valued by employers outside the forces.
Colonel Andy King, the Assistant Director for Educational and Training Services (Operations) for the Army will be attending the ceremony on Thursday 21st February, where all those who have completed the RMP Apprenticeship will be presented their certificates. He is immensely proud that the Army has created this ground breaking Police Apprenticeship, the first of its kind in the UK; this is part of the UK’s Largest Employer Apprenticeship Scheme, which sees around 12,000 soldiers a year achieve certification across 43 Programmes.
Andrew Costello, Technical Specialist for Skills for Justice and Project Manager of the NCO Apprenticeship said “Skills for Justice has been developing leading edge Apprenticeships for a number of years in areas such as Fire, Courts & Tribunals and Custodial Care and we are delighted that the new RMP NCO scheme is starting to generate great results. This route offers many added benefits to the already rigorous training that NCOs complete and the fact that the qualifications are based on NOS means the military police are consistently meeting the standards required to develop the very best skills in their workforce.”
LCpl Kevin Byron, currently serving with 150 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment RMP said “The training I completed at DCPG gave me confidence that I could carry out my duties effectively as a Military Police Officer. The fact that I have gained a nationally recognised qualification through the RMP Apprenticeship is an added bonus.”
Colonel Ian Prosser OBE, Commandant of DCPG said “The Police National Curriculum was introduced to ensure that all those joining the police were at a common level before they started work. The RMP apprenticeship allows our NCOs to demonstrate their core competencies within policing to a nationally recognised standard and as a consequence our people are as well qualified as their civilian counterparts, able to exercise their powers as Service Policemen and women effectively.”
Kelvin Roberts, Babcock’s Operations Manager for the MoD, said: “This graduation marks a milestone in a programme that is set to have a significant impact on policing careers. The commitment of the Apprentices, who have worked diligently towards their qualifications both here in Hampshire and whilst on overseas postings, has been outstanding. I have no doubt that every one of them can look forward to a very successful career, built upon this foundation.”