February 21, 2022, by abrierley
International Police Association placement
by Hannah Howling 3rd year Geography
At the beginning of third year, I received an email advertising the opportunity to apply for an NAA placement. After speculating about what I wanted to go on to do after my final year, the placement with the International Police Association really stood out for me due to its links to my dissertation topic and course content.
The International Police Association are a global IGO with a significant UK sector. The organisation is made up of current and retiring police officers and staff members throughout the UK. Over the 10-week placement, I worked one working day per week (up to 8 hours), aiding the council of the organisation in the recruitment and retention of officers of all demographics, races, sexes, religions and cultures. Over this period 5 of the weeks consisted of hybrid working due to the pandemic and the turbulent shifts the police officers were on. The other half of the weeks I was invited into the headquarters in West Bridgford and also to London. This trip was with the aim of experiencing how the daily life of staff members ran in various police stations in the area..
The application process was reasonably straightforward. It consisted of two rounds: one being the initial application and then a second, selective interview stage. The initial application required a complete application form which included interview style, personal statement questions such as why I would be the best candidate for the role. I then submitted this with my CV. A couple of weeks later, I was contacted back and invited for an interview with who would be my placement convener. The interview was online and consisted of an informal chat and lasted around 15 minutes. I was later contacted and told that I was the successful candidate! Whilst the application process added some challenge to my workload, the careers team offered me great support throughout. Due to this and the ease of the application process, any stress that could have potentially been created, was reduced.
This role has provided extremely beneficial experience in working with those in this field. This field is one relating to my university studies and dissertation research, and so offered a fantastic insight into a potential career interest. However, the role benefitted my development as an individual, arguably more importantly. Working with those in the field, provided me with the opportunity to organise my time around my existent work calendar with those who juggle busy schedules. This has helped develop my co-ordination with colleagues and staff substantially. With my working days being online, in Nottingham and London, the organisation of these required communication. This was due to working around those I was working with, in their dynamic and turbulent working lives. This resulted in a development of my communication skills and simultaneously benefitted me by providing me with amazing experiences such as my day in London. This trip was definitely the highlight of the placement work.
During the placement, substantial political events have occurred involving my placement supervisors such as COP26. This has meant that I have not had a regular working pattern with the role, instead, sorting my working days around their availability and organising around my own commitments. Whilst this has been a challenge at times, due to my increased workload in the final year, this has proved highly beneficial in the long run, developing my understanding of the benefits of being flexible. Furthermore, being required at times to work in a professional environment felt a bit like being thrown in at the deep end yet necessitated me swimming not sinking. This insight resulted in me learning quickly which will in turn, assist me down future career paths.
My main piece of advice would be to trust and embrace the process with confidence. You have as much right to apply for the position as anybody else and the placement will be what you make it. You have nothing to lose and good luck!
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