I applied for the role of a comms apprentice at Thames Valley Police as I’ve always been interested in business and comms. During my A-levels and my time at university I studied business.
My dad also works for the police so I had a strong connection to policing throughout my childhood, so it seemed a natural path for me.
In June 2014, I did work experience in the corporate comms department and found I loved the digital side – communicating via social media, which seemed to come naturally to me and made me realise how much I want to work in this environment.
I applied for the apprenticeship and in November last year I got it.
I thought my work would be mostly ordering stationery and organising diaries.
While I do that too, a major part of my role is to record and provide an action log of our daily tasking briefing.
This briefing contains all police incidents that happen overnight within the Thames Valley area so I get to hear about all sorts – murders, assaults and most recently how the possible renaming of a police horse called Brian to something more ‘police-like’ caused a media storm.
The actions are then distributed to the department for either the communication or media officers to work from.
It really sets the news agenda for the day.
Recently, I was offered the chance to get involved with the launch of an internal comms tool that will be introduced force-wide.
I accompanied colleagues to a meeting in London at the Yammer UK Headquarters.
From this meeting, I researched the background of Yammer, case studies of its use and how it could be implemented within our force.
I helped present my research to the department senior management team and this then became a business proposal that went to the chief officers’ team for approval.
I will now be working as part of the team who will be rolling this out across the force.
Since joining the department in November, I have been given and sought many new opportunities and experiences, while also studying for a Business and Admin NVQ.
Through the NVQ, I can do various training courses while helping organise large-scale force events such as our Open Day, which is attended by thousands of people each year, and getting involved in new force-wide projects like Yammer.
Recently I got to spend a shift with the Roads Policing officers in Milton Keynes. This was an incredibly exciting opportunity for me as I got a first-hand experience of how our officers work on the front line.
Being an apprentice has been hugely beneficial to me – I struggled with the fast-pace learning demands that university involved.
Comms in particular is extremely hard to get into without a degree, so the apprenticeship has allowed me to gain relevant work experience in a competitive industry and get real work skills and responsibility, which are not always available when studying for a degree.
Sian Mason is the comms apprentice at Thames Valley Police