By Joshua Robinson –
West Yorkshire Police has received almost £100,000 of funding to train 11 new Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), as part of a drive to get more young people into secure, well-paid jobs in West Yorkshire.
Following her pledge to recruit 750 new police officers and staff, Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, has today announced the funding as part of a partnership with businesses, to ensure their apprenticeship money is spent on local priorities.
By bringing together key businesses with training providers including West Yorkshire Police, £5.7 million has been pledged by businesses so far, allowing over 530 apprentices to embark on training throughout the region.
This latest pledge comes from Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda, which has allocated £99,000 of apprenticeship funding to support the 11 new PCSOs, who are now in training.
As a large employer, Asda is required by the Treasury to pay the Apprenticeship Levy – a percentage of its annual pay bill which must be spent on apprenticeships.
After working with the Mayor, a portion of this funding has now been spent to train the new PCSO cohort, with ten new Emergency Contact Handlers also on the way.
Meeting the new recruits, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Here in West Yorkshire, we’re bringing together businesses and training providers to ensure young people get the skills they need to succeed.”
“I’m thrilled that our support is helping to bolster the region’s police force, as we work to build a safer, fairer West Yorkshire for all.”
“It was wonderful to meet the apprentices at the start of their exciting new career journeys, and I’m confident they all have bright futures ahead.”
One of the new PCSOs, PCSO Daisy Speak, said: “I applied to be a PCSO because I would like to make a difference in the community and support people that need us the most. I also want to try my best to make a difference to people’s perception of the police.”
“I feel the apprenticeship gives me a chance to earn a good wage and gain qualifications, whilst I gather experience to eventually become a PC.”
“This course has given me a brilliant opportunity to turn my life around and make a future for me and my children.”
ASDA has already helped to place over 70 apprenticeships in organisations across the region, with more than half a million pounds being transferred to the mayor’s Apprenticeship Levy fund since 2020.
Hayley Tatum, Asda’s Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer, said: “Apprenticeships are vital in providing young people opportunities for growth, employment and to build new skills. We know the scale of pressure being felt in our public services and communities due to the cost-of-living crisis. That’s why Asda continues to do all we can to support our local communities not just as a supermarket, but as a large business and employer.”
“We have the ability to make a real impact in the communities we serve and we are delighted with how our own apprenticeship scheme is progressing. We can’t wait to see the positive impacts this investment will have.”
Sarah Baker, Assistant Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our latest PCSOs, who make a valuable contribution to policing as part of the wider West Yorkshire Police family.”
As well as helping to create the new cohort of PCSOs, the Mayor is also working with local job centres to encourage people to apply for roles within West Yorkshire Police.
After attending an information session at the local job centre, people are encouraged to sign-up to specialist courses, after which they are guided through the police application process.
The announcement of new funding for PCSOs follows the launch of the West Yorkshire Plan, which pledged to upskill people into good, well-paid jobs whilst delivering a safer, fairer West Yorkshire that works for all.