FIVE people from Clare are among the first group of students to begin training in the Garda College since 2009.
The enrollment gathering, which also included students from neighbouring counties; 12 from Galway, six from Limerick and four from Tipperary, was addressed by the Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at a ceremony in Templemore today (Monday).
The students will be undertaking a BA in Applied Policing. The programme was developed following comprehensive review of Garda training in 2009.
The BA is an accelerated programme with the students carrying out three phases of learning, each of which is the equivalent of an academic year. It is accredited by the University of Limerick.
Director of Training and Development in An Garda Síochána, Chief Superintendent Anne-Marie McMahon said, “The rigorous training that the students will be facing will equip them with the tools they need to provide the professional, efficient policing service that is expected by Irish communities today. Our training programme has been updated to focus on problem solving, and reflects the daily duties and responsibilities of Gardaí. It will ensure that the students will be trained to a standard befitting a 21st century police service”.
A total of 100 students have registered for the course and these are made up of 18 females and 82males with 24 former Garda Reserve members included in the intake.
A total of 22 Irish counties are accounted for in the group, with Dublin providing the largest number of students with 26. There are two students with current addresses outside of the island of Ireland one in Suffolk and one in London. All students are Irish citizens.
The students range in age from 20 to 33, with the top three ages represented being 25 (14 people), 23 (13 people), and 21 (12 people). There is one 35 year old.
The BA in Applied Policing is designed to ensure the students learn in a consistent and coherent manner, while additionally addressing the issue of the ‘theory/practice’ gap identified by the 2009 training review.
A blended learning approach has been adopted, utilising hybrid Problem Based Learning (PBL), Work Based Learning (WBL) and competency development methodologies.
Phase I of the programme, is delivered at the Garda College over 32 weeks, where trainees learn in small groups through engagement with realistic policing scenarios.
On successful completion of Phase I trainees will be conferred with full policing powers to enable full engagement with WBL phases of the programme as probationer Gardaí.
Phase II is spread across 34 weeks and is delivered in policing divisions through WBL. During the first 17 weeks, probationers ‘assist’ a trained peer tutor Garda, followed by 17 weeks of being ‘assisted’ by a tutor.
The third and final phase is delivered over 38 weeks between the Garda College and operational divisions. Probationers act autonomously in their role as members of An Garda Síochána and follow a more integrated programme of professional competency learning and development under supervision.