Former Student Transitions to Police Force

Former student, Max Lea, talks about his time studying BTEC Public Services at The Henley College and how his experience motivated him to join the police force.

We are always immensely proud of our students who progress to roles within the public sector, especially at this time of national emergency. This week, we were delighted to hear from former student, Max Lea, who is now working in the police force.

“I joined The Henley College in 2009 to study the National Diploma in Uniformed Public Services, qualifying with a triple Distinction in 2011.

The year before, I started on an A Level programme, but after six short weeks I realised A Levels were not for me. I am a practical person and I prefer practical based learning, which is why the BTEC Uniformed Public Services course immediately spiked my interest, once I understood how it worked!

One of the great benefits of attending The Henley College was the Enrichment programme where I started personal training sessions at the gym at Gillotts School, where I met my closest friends at the College. This encouraged me to find a career that would utilise my excess energy. The Henley College staff also supported me with my Dyslexia that made exams so hard.

After leaving The Henley College, I completed a degree in Fitness Management and Personal Training at Southampton Solent University, where I was really well supported and became a successful personal trainer with David Lloyd. But after five years of training, I had gained the life skills to enable me to consider a change in career. I wanted more and could no longer resist the calling I had to serve the community I live in - so I applied to join Sussex Police. I am now a substantive police officer with qualifications in Driving and Public Order/Riot Policing. I have also been nominated to complete a Taser course and have been approached by a firearms sergeant with regards to the firearms recruitment process.

So how did The Henley College’s Uniformed Public Services Diploma help me?

I found the course suited my learning style perfectly. Rather than being bombarded with questions such as “How many electrons are there in a carbon atom?" I was discussing the emergency response plans to major incidents such as terrorist attacks or flooding and political/policing changes. I could not have been more engaged.

The course had a brilliant mix of studying British law and the laws of armed conflict, to the professional standards expected while you wear a uniform. The course prepared me well for policing, understanding how working for an emergency force is not a 9 to 5 job.

Whilst on the BTEC course, we went to Calshot Activity Centre where we tried out a variety of outdoor pursuits and we had a visit from the British Army where we completed some “phys”, learned how to cook with Army rations and got a chance to try and eat one of the 4000kcal packs!

For anyone looking at joining a core force such as the Police, Fire, Armed Forces, or if you are just interested in these vocations, I would highly recommend this course. Although I love my current job, I have a long held ambition to train as an officer in the British Army at Sandhurst. I have been selected to start in May, but recruitment is on hold because of the Covid 19 crisis. In the meantime, I am happy to stay serving the community.”