Lincoln wins AGCAS Award for Employer Engagement 2016

12 October 2016

The winner of the 2016 AGCAS Award for Employer Engagement, sponsored by Gradconsult, is the University of Lincoln's Careers and Employability Centre. By developing an innovative employability partnership with Lincolnshire Police the university has been able to introduce their first employer-branded Lincoln Award, which has given students unprecedented access to in-house training and facilities, offering a distinct employability advantage whilst increasing police presence and visibility in the local student community.

Student demographic

The significant student demographic within the city of Lincoln has resulted in a desire for the Lincolnshire Police service to operate a visible and tangible presence amongst the student body. The expansion of student numbers in Lincoln over a relatively short time period has impacted on local policing in the city. This initiative provides tangible opportunities for close integration between students and the local community whist offering students an opportunity to engage with and gain an insight into policing.

Bespoke training

The following two roles have been created for twelve students under the Lincolnshire Police Lincoln Award employability framework:

  • Drop-in Centre role
  • Volunteer Police Community Support Officers (VPSCO) role

Students undertaking the VPCSO are ambassadors for the student population in the local community. They gain an understanding of policing and community issues linked to the student population and bring a different perspective to the police. The on-campus Drop-In Centre volunteers are the first point of contact for queries and provide a central focus point for the police presence on campus.

This scheme has taken Lincoln's employability framework and enhanced it by integrating sector specific training and development. The result is that each volunteer has undergone bespoke training with Lincolnshire Police and has gained networking opportunities with police officers and staff. Such training and development, usually held exclusively for serving police officers, places students in a strong position should they wish to pursue a profession in policing.

Impact of the scheme

Whilst this is the first employer-branded employability award developed by the university, it has resulted in numerous other recruiters now exploring this avenue along with a great deal of external interest. As it has been the first such partnership between a university and their local police force, it has also attracted significant interest from other forces who are interested in emulating the model.

Lincolnshire Police Crime Commissioner, Alan Hardwick, commented:

“The Lincolnshire Police Lincoln Award provides students with an opportunity to gain a real insight into policing. All the volunteers are very special people as far as I’m concerned who have made a significant commitment to the force proving their worth.”

Lynda Crosby, Careers and Employability Manager at the University of Lincoln, said:

"This award has provided the team with the recognition they so richly deserve both locally and nationally. The accolades we have received following the announcement have been amazing."

Judges' comments

Awards judges were impressed by the logical collaboration between the university and the police force. They felt the project was clear and concise and found it to work not only from an employability perspective, but also from the point of view of enhanced community awareness and engagement. The scheme demonstrates true collaboration between a university and an employer, whilst addressing a local community agenda and demonstrating the positive impact that student peer-led activities can have on an area.