Distance Learning works for Leicestershire and West Midlands Police

The North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire Distance Learning Academy offers a range of NCFE qualifications in areas such as Health and Wellbeing, Business, Administration and Management and Equality and Diversity, to name a few. The qualifications are ideal for employers looking to upskill their staff or individuals aiming to progress in their careers.

The Academy is proving very popular, consistently achieving over 2,000 enrolments per year and seeing a success rate of between 92-94% from learners undertaking the qualifications. They’ve seen particular success from Leicestershire and West Midlands Police forces, who have embraced the importance of learning and development for their staff.

When Leicestershire Police introduced distance learning opportunities, they were surprised by the number of staff that enrolled, making the programme one of the most popular types of CPD they had ever run.

Around 300 police officers and staff signed up for the short and accessible online courses in a range of subjects from mental health awareness, and equality and diversity to team leading and business, all leading to nationally-accredited qualifications.

The topics have proved useful both for those on the frontline dealing first hand with the health and wellbeing issues that are covered by the courses, and for those simply aiming to boost their professional development.

Janine Jeffs, HR Business Partner for Leadership and Management Development at Leicestershire Police, invited North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to Force HQ to run monthly enrolment sessions for staff to get advice on their options and see course materials. Janine said:

“The distance learning programme has been fantastic for our staff because the courses are manageable and easily-accessible, so people can study in their own time. None of the training was mandatory and we were surprised that so many people have signed up. We had 11,000 views for the intranet article when the programme was introduced, and hundreds have gone on to complete courses and gain their qualifications.

The health and wellbeing topics have been especially useful as many frontline staff deal with people who have autism, learning disabilities or mental health problems. The courses provide an invaluable insight into these conditions and enable colleagues to help people more appropriately.

It is important to us that colleagues are able to gain recognised qualifications as this meets the agenda of the College of Policing which encourages the professionalisation of the workforce.

All the training outcomes are logged against our KPIs for professional development and we are delighted that so many colleagues are benefiting from these highly popular programmes. The beauty of distance learning is that staff can study in their own time and wherever suits them, using a PC, or tablet, or even their smartphone. Also, the courses are fully supported by government funding, so there is no charge to us or our staff.”

 West Midlands Police employee, Dan Eccleston, was bitten by the learning bug after completing an online course through the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire Distance Learning Academy. Dan, who works as a digital services officer at Force HQ in Birmingham, started with a team leading qualification and enjoyed it so much, he signed up for many more.

Dan has also benefited personally from an online course in mental health awareness that has helped him to gain an insight into his own issues with anxiety and OCD. Dan said:

“I am working on a customer service platform for West Midlands Police and although I am not a team leader, I thought the course would help prepare me if any progression opportunities arise in the future.

I really liked being able to study in my own time and at my own pace. The online materials are easily accessible wherever I am and I even found myself logging in on the beach using my tablet when I was on holiday! The course materials are easy to follow and there is excellent support available from college tutors, without having to go into a classroom.

The qualification in mental health was of particular interest to me and improved my self-awareness. Courses like these help people to be able to talk about any issues they are dealing with and break down taboos. I found out about the NHS services that are available in my area, so it was very helpful from that point of view and taking this course has been very therapeutic for me.

I have also recently taken a course in understanding autism to help me get to grips with the behaviour of a close family member.”

Dan found that he benefited both professionally and personally from his experience of distance learning. He has gained nationally-recognised qualifications with no fees to pay, as the courses are all supported by government funding.

It’s great to see the impact that NCFE qualifications can have for organisations and individuals. We believe in the importance of lifelong learning and seeing the difference it can make is so rewarding.

If you’d like to find out more about the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire Distance Learning Academy, please visit here:  http://www.nwhc.ac.uk/article/view/distancelearning