WEST Yorkshire Police has been told to improve its apprenticeship training after being rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.

The education watchdog visited police headquarters, in Wakefield from July 25 to July 27.

Inspectors assessed the two apprenticeship standards that the force provides, which are needed for new staff’s job roles.

These are the level 3 emergency contact handling and the level 4 police community support officer apprenticeships, which West Yorkshire Police has a directly funded contract to deliver.

All other standards are delivered by other training providers, who were outside of the scope for the inspection, while English and maths are subcontracted to Functional Skills UK.  

There are currently 140 apprentices enrolled on both courses and all are aged 18 or over.

West Yorkshire Police received ‘good’ in behaviour and attitudes and personal development, but ‘requires improvement’ for the other three categories.

The main criticism was that apprentices’ progress through their programme is not “rapid enough”.

Inspectors also found that “too many” apprentices leave their programme early and do not complete their apprenticeship within the planned time.

Leaders are taking action to improve this – which includes a review of the curriculum and assessment methods - but “it is too early to see the full impact of their actions”.

Most of the report was positive.

The report states: “Apprentices are proud to wear their uniform, and they look professional.”

The curriculum for each standard meets the needs of the police force and apprentices produce work of an “appropriate standard”.

They develop a good level of skills, which they then apply well to their everyday work activities.

The report states: “This ensures that apprentices are fully supported in making the transition from training to working independently as a call handler.”

Trainers make use of case studies to prepare apprentices for handling emergency calls and they start by dealing with 101 calls before moving on to the more serious 999 calls.

The report states: “They develop their confidence and become valuable team members.”

On the PCSO standard, trainers use real scenarios, police profiling tools, and group work in class.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "The force is committed to providing high-quality apprenticeship programmes, which give our apprentices the skills they need to carry out these roles to the best of their abilities.

"The detail within the report supports the many good practices that are currently in place and the force is already working to implement the recommendations made in the inspection report."