A Blue Light Academy, a centre for excellence to deliver a new professional framework for the training of emergency officers and staff has been launched by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

The University’s Institute of Management and Health is already co-delivering the Police Educational Qualification Framework (PEQF) apprenticeship training for South Wales and Gwent Police, as part of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) and the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP), to a total of 474 students.

The Academy will provide an opportunity to build further on this collaborative policing portfolio and will identify new opportunities for upskilling across all the emergencies services. The aim is to align the development with the ‘Policing Vision 2025’ in order to support key aspects of policing training and development through academic accreditation, which recognises and enhances the skills and knowledge of the workforce and addresses the challenges of policing during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The development of the Academy will have clear links to the ‘one public service ethos’ and also the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 (Wales) and its 7 goals, a number of which can be directly related to the work carried out by the emergency services:

  • A Prosperous Wales – By developing a skilled and well-educated workforce.
  • A More Equal Wales: By allowing people to fulfil their potential.
  • A Healthier Wales: Where employees can maximise their mental well-being.
  • A Wales of Cohesive Communities: By encouraging collaboration between organisations and with communities.

The policing portfolio has been designed by South Wales and Gwent Police in collaboration with UWTSD to ensure consistent practice in terms of the implementation, assessment and accreditation of initial police training across the 43 forces in England and Wales. It includes taught policing practice, knowledge and research. Professional practice is assessed via work-based learning portfolios and independent studies.

New programmes will include MSc Policing (Operational and Strategic Leadership) – (Blended and part time) – designed for those in leadership, management or supervisory roles who want to undertake a higher education qualification programme to explore the challenges facing policing in today’s rapidly changing society and enhance and develop their research skills to help tackle them.

The online launch of the new Academy on October 13 provided an opportunity to celebrate the work already undertaken on the policing portfolio and was attended by The Chief Constables or their representatives and PCCs from South Wales, Gwent and Dyfed Powys police forces. Also, in attendance was Jason Killens, the Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) and current chair of the Welsh Joint Emergency Services Group (JESG).

During the launch, Debbie Williams, Assistant Director Learning and Organisational Development, South Wales Police said: “The partnership with UWTSD has ensured the highest standard of professional police practice, knowledge and education for our officers and our leaders.”

Pam Kelly, Chief Constable of Gwent Police and said: “The police educational qualification framework (PEQF) delivers a strong foundation for our new officers, a number of whom have completed their training and are already working hard to protect our communities.

The opportunities offered by this collaboration between Gwent Police, UWTSD and other blue light partners are exciting and I look forward to enjoying and sharing the success of our future officers.”

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD said: “Meaningful collaboration with public and private organisations is central to the University’s mission. The development of the Academy will support knowledge transfer, research innovation and workforce development within the emergency services in order to ensure that there is ready pipeline of skilled students and graduates who are able to fulfil such crucial public service roles”.

Training for the South Wales Police and Gwent Police recruits is split between core police officer training by Gwent and South Wales Staff with support from the University for the Qualifications Element of their studies.

UWTSD has a collaborative internal team from the Institute of Management and Health, comprising the Public Services Portfolio, Wales Academy of Professional Practice and Applied Research and Apprenticeship Development teams working in partnership with South Wales and Gwent Police forces to deliver the programmes.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David