Enabling student employability through volunteering: insights from police volunteers studying professional policing degrees in Wales

Ian Pepper*, Colin Rogers, James Turner, Nick Louis, Bronwen Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose – This paper aims to explore perceptions and provides insights, from students who volunteer in policing whilst also studying the College of Policing licenced professional policing degree (PPD) in Wales. It examines issues that act as enablers and blockers to volunteering in this public service, which also provides opportunities to develop their employability towards the careers to which they aspire. The paper provides insights from students and makes recommendations of interest to multiple stakeholders locally, regionally, nationally and internationally regarding attracting and recruiting volunteers.

Design/methodology/approach – Focus groups were conducted with students at three separate universities in the South and West of Wales. These undergraduate students were volunteers in different police forces and agreed to take part in connection with their experiences. The results were analysed using NVivo to establish commonalities.

Findings – The paper provides empirical insights concerning the issues surrounding the way those undergoing the process for recruitment as volunteers within policing are either hindered (blocked) or assisted (enabled). It identifies specific problematic areas as well as areas which have been of assistance. Policy makers, educators and recruiters should be aware of such blockers and enablers when considering adopting volunteering as an opportunity to enhance student employability. It also has resonance for other forms of volunteering in alternate public services.

Research limitations/implications – This research is limited to those volunteers who are undertaking the licenced PPD at three separate universities in Wales. Although the research adds to the broader evidence-base with regards to volunteering and its use to enhance employability.

Practical implications – The paper includes practical implications for multiple stakeholders including university programme educators, administrators and decision makers in policing with regards to volunteering, employability, programme structures and process management.

Originality/value – The research is based upon the experiences and perceptions of those individuals who are actually engaged in volunteering.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2023-0253
Number of pages14
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
Issue number00
Early online date19 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2024


  • Employability
  • University industry collaboration
  • Volunteering
  • Work-based learning


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