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Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

Salary: £24, 177

Overview: A three-year professional degree apprenticeship.

Is this the route for you: This route is for someone who would like to work in the role of an operational police officer, whilst studying, and who does not hold a degree-level qualification.

Before you start: To be accepted onto the PCDA, candidates have to meet the Constabulary's PCDA eligibility criteria and successfully pass the stages of the Constabulary's police officer recruitment process.

What's involved in a PCDA: A PCDA involves a three-year programme of academic modules, course work and exams. This is undertaken coincides with whilst serving as a student training police officer with active frontline duties within Cumbria Constabulary. 

Provider: The academic learning for the PCDA is provided by our higher education institute partner UCLan

Support: Apprentices will receive support from a UCLan tutor with your academic studies and officers and staff from Cumbria Constabulary will support you with your operational role.

You will receive one-on-one support from your UCLan tutor.

You will receive regular meetings to discuss your progress and any support you feel you could benefit from with your line manager within the force.

Costs: The academic costs of this degree are covered by the apprenticeship.

Achieving your PCDA: Upon successful competition of your PCDA, you will graduate as a Cumbria Constabulary police officer and achieve a degree in Professional Policing Practice.

How to apply: Please complete this application form and return it to:

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship
HR Department
Employee Services
Police HQ
Carleton Hall
CA10 2AU

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship FAQs

Will I be a serving officer as well as training?

Yes, for the majority of your time you will be in force on frontline duties.

How much time will I spend studying in a class room?

The minimum amount of time spent in off the job learning such as in lessons will be 20 per cent. Off the job could also include work-related projects, which would be agreed by you and the Constabulary, which could help tackle local policing issues.

Will I have someone to support me with my learning?

Yes, each recruit will be allocated a tutor. They will provide you with support via email and face-to-face meetings at the Constabulary's HQ in Penrith.

What will I be assessed on?

Recruits will be assessed on their practical work, assessments, course work, exams and a dissertation in year three.

What is the recruitment process before I start the PCDA?

Before new recruits join the PCDA programme, you will be required to attend an interview at a designated Cumbria Constabulary police station, successfully pass the SEARCH Assessment Centre to test for initial abilities including common sense approaches and reading and writing skills. There are also vetting and fitness tests that need to be passed before being enrolled onto the PCDA programme (note places are limited in each PCDA intake, enrolment onto the PCDA is subject to availability and, should the programme be popular, candidates may experience a waiting period before being offered a place).

What age do I have to be to apply?

Applicants need to be 18 or older.

I don't want to study towards a degree, can I join under the old scheme?

Unfortunately not, the old scheme is closed to new applicants, and has been replaced by the PC Degree Apprenticeship.

Which Higher Education Institute will provide the degree?

The degree is provided by the Constabulary's HEI partner, UCLan .

Do I have to attend a university for lectures?

No, UCLan lecturers will hold lessons at a Cumbria Constabulary site, this will usually be the Carleton Hall site in Penrith.

Do I have to pay for the degree?

No, your degree will be funded as part of the apprenticeship.

Will I have a graduation ceremony?

Yes, this will be organised by UCLan and will be held at Preston with graduates from other UCLan higher education courses.

Can I apply to more than one force at a time?

No, applicants are unable to apply to more than one two different forces at the same time.

Visit the police officer FAQs page for general FAQs on becoming a police officer

To find out what it is like to be a recruit on the PCDA programme read three officer's testimonies and watch their vlogs.

PCDA Eligibility

In addition to the general requirements to join as a police officer, applicants must also have one of the following in order to meet both the academic requirements of UCLan and the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) apprenticeships:

  • Level 3 qualifications where the grades total 96 UCAS points or higher
  • Level 3 qualifications considered equal to the above (not all level 3 qualifications accumulate tariff points but they will still be considered)
  • Professional training or work experience considered to be equal to the above


  • Candidates must have a Level 2 qualification (GCSE or equivalent) in English and Maths in order to enrol on the  apprenticeship programme

A review of a candidate's professional training or work experience which will include military experience, PCSO/Special constable experience and work based practical skills e.g. problem solving and customer service will be considered if a candidate does not have the required UCAS points.

  • Be aged 18 years or over (on the day you submit your application).
  • Applicants should be British Citizens, or passport holders from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you're a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain.
  • You must have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application. 
  • Have achieved a standard of education equivalent to Level 3 for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (or be able to evidence via assessment that you are capable of achieving this), or a Degree, for the Degree Holder Entry Scheme.
  • Not be a member of the British National Party (BNP) or plus other organisations such as Combat 18 or The National Front.
  • If you have a criminal record, this doesn't mean you're automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form, failure to do so will result in failing vetting due to integrity issues.
  • You must not be registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, have outstanding County Court Judgements against you, or be subject to a current Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA).
  • Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application, as per application guidance.
  • You must hold a full manual driving licence prior to commencing with Cumbria Constabulary.
  • You may only apply to one police force at a time.
  • 96 UCAS points or equivalent professional training and experience.