Criminal Justice Fast Track is a unique and wonderful opportunity offered by the University of Leicester. The award is designed to enhance students’ experience of work in the criminal justice system and it’s fantastic for your own personal sense of achievement and experience, enhancement of the Criminology degree, and for future employment prospects! Work experience in the criminal justice system is also especially helpful for helping you to realise the areas you are most interested in.
In our First Year, as Criminal Justice Fast Track participants, a lucky few of us were more than fortunate to be provided with the rare opportunity to see behind prison walls with our own eyes. We were treated to some impressive stories narrated by the Prison Warden, about the lives of prisoners and about how you might go about getting employed within the prison service. Directly from a Prison Warden, this was an unforgettable experience. Later, we embarked on a truly eye-opening tour of one area of the prison, which luckily for us was closed for refurbishments, although we did make chance contact with a few rowdy prisoners! Prison visits like this are extremely rare and difficult to come by, so such opportunities are unmissable. Combined with the other opportunities the BA Criminology degree offers to visit places such as Leicestershire Police HQ and the courts, First Year already sets you up with a well-rounded and incredible first-hand experience of working in the criminal justice system.
On top of these unique experiences, the Criminal Justice Fast Track provides a number of workshops throughout the year to enhance skills as well as provide networking opportunities. While these workshops are very useful, they’re also very spread out and not too often, so it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, which of course is a perk!
To complete the award, participants need to undertake 40 hours work experience or volunteering in the criminal justice sector, with the additional opportunity to achieve a Gold award if 100 hours are completed. The scheme provides extremely helpful coaching and guidance on applying for volunteering or internship opportunities, as well as regular updates on opportunities that become available! There have certainly been some super interesting ones such as a forensic role with Leicestershire Police and a paid summer internship with Bedfordshire Police. I can absolutely confirm that the guidance on application has been amazing. I’ve been to a few one-on-one talks and what I’ve learnt will stand me in good stead for all kinds of applications in the future – my friends are always asking me for advice on their CVs and cover letters so I’m pleased the award seems to have refined my application skills pretty well!
I’m lucky to have had my Fast Track award extended into Third Year. Usually the scheme starts in First Year and will be completed towards the end of Second Year, but due to my Study Abroad, I had to put volunteering on hold so the university staff have been kind enough to give me some extra time! So I’ve recently started a volunteering opportunity at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, which is amazing! In my next blog post, I’ll write a bit more about what exactly this is and I’ll continue to update my blog on some of the most exciting things I do! Today, I went to court so I will definitely write more about that later!
If you’d like some more information about the Criminal Justice Fast Track, here is a helpful link: