Winning the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award will undoubtedly give you something impressive to add to your CV and LinkedIn profile. However, there’s a lot more than this in it for the winner: the experience and contacts you’ll gain along the way and the opportunities that will set you up for the future. The winner of this award will get a unique experience with Police Now and its partners, including various work shadowing opportunities. And, with Police Now merchandise included for the other finalists, nobody will be leaving empty-handed.
Why is Police Now partnering this award?
Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing; not just now, but for generations to come. It is an independent social enterprise that aims to bring about improvements in society, rather than profits for their organisation.
Police Now hopes the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award will help to celebrate the success of the many black heritage students who are making a positive impact in their societies, and that it will also inspire outstanding, community-driven graduates considering their future careers to join Police Now in its mission.
How to enter the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award
The selection process for the awards is along the same lines as the application process for an internship or graduate job, giving you valuable insights and the chance to get some practice in before you need to apply for jobs.
For the Black Heritage award, you’ll be asked to:
- Register your details online and answer three questions set by Police Now – this article includes more advice on how to tackle these questions.
- Sit two online tests (a situational judgement test and a personality questionnaire) – read about how to approach psychometric tests and carry out some practice tests here.
- Attend an online assessment – you’ll be asked a series of competency-based questions to help Police Now find out how you’d react to different situations. Read our advice on answering competency-based questions here.
The application questions for the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award
The questions set by Police Now focus mainly on your experiences. You can use your answers to showcase your skills and abilities, as well as to demonstrate how your values and motivations make you the right person for this award.
- Describe a time when you supported someone who needed your help. What was the situation, how did you use leadership skills to support them and how did helping them make you feel?
- If you decided to join Police Now on their National Graduate Leadership programme, what is the one thing that you would like to address in your role as a police officer and why?
- When did you show resilience and innovation in the face of adversity?
You have up to 500 words for each question. Before starting your answers, plan the examples you will use for each. This way, you’ll avoid repeating the same experiences. You can draw on your time at university, previous work experience or extracurricular activities, for example.
Tip: familiarise yourself with Police Now’s competencies and values
Have a good look at the ‘What makes an award winner?’ section of the Black Heritage award on the Undergraduate of the Year website and keep this list to hand. Think about how you can demonstrate these skills and qualities in the examples you plan to use in your application answers.
You should also look at Police Now’s website – particularly what it says about its competencies and values. It goes into detail on its website about five qualities a graduate will need to be successful on its National Graduate Leadership programme: flexibility, resilience, impartiality, transparency and accountability. Which of your examples best shine a light on times when you’ve used these skills?
Tip: use the STAR method
Implementing the STAR method will help you structure your answers, stay on topic and get the most out of 500 words. STAR stands for:
- Situation: Describe the situation and what challenges you were presented with.
- Task: Once the situation was established, what was the main objective? What did you need to do to overcome the challenges?
- Action: What exactly did you do?
- Result: What resulted from your actions? What did you learn from the experience?
You can see some examples of using the STAR technique in our advice on answering competency-based questions.
Below is some specific advice for answering all three of Police Now’s application questions for the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award.
Question one: Describe a time when you supported someone who needed your help. What was the situation, how did you use leadership skills to support them and how did helping them make you feel?
Police Now’s advice: Consider an example where you can demonstrate empathy. Show your decision-making skills and ability to inspire or influence others. Highlight your ability to handle a challenging situation effectively.
TARGETjobs’ advice: The question is made up of several parts so make sure you address each one. Choose an example where you made a significant contribution. You may have helped an individual or a group of people. You might have acted alone, or you might have supported them alongside a team of others. If it’s the latter, you should focus on your ideas, actions and skills, not other people’s.
The question asks about your leadership skills, so you’ll need to highlight these. It might help to break down what you think makes a good leader. Are they a good listener? Able to motivate and influence others? Confident making decisions and delegating? Calm when facing a problem? Police Now also wants to see empathy so, again, think about the kind of behaviour you would associate with being empathetic – and how you behaved as such in your example. Our advice on leadership and emotional intelligence might help you.
Question two: If you decided to join Police Now on their National Graduate Leadership programme, what is the one thing that you would like to address in your role as a police officer and why?
Police Now’s advice: Think about some of the issues in our society that you would like to address and why. By addressing this, what would the outcome be and how does this align with Police Now’s mission?
TARGETjobs’ advice: You should choose an issue that you are genuinely passionate about as your enthusiasm will come through in your answer. Remember to explain why you want to address this issue and the outcome(s) you’d like to achieve. The issue you write about may be something Police Now wants to discuss in more depth with you, so you need to feel comfortable discussing it.
It goes without saying that the issue should fall under the remit of Police Now and the work you might do as a police officer in England and Wales. The stronger your understanding of Police Now’s mission and work, the stronger your answer will be. We recommend browsing the different sections of Police Now’s website, watching the videos of its current graduates and reading reports such as its Case for Change and Impact reports. You might also find it helpful to develop your wider knowledge of policing in the UK; for example, by following your local police force’s activity or looking at the website of Police.uk and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Question three: When did you show resilience and innovation in the face of adversity?
Police Now’s advice: Showcase your ability to deal with difficult situations professionally. This question allows you to demonstrate your character, showing you can be resilient and bounce back in the face of adversity, take responsibility and ownership.
TARGETjobs’ advice: To answer this, you’ll need to draw on another one of your experiences, using the STAR technique outlined above. The key here is to demonstrate both resilience and innovation in your approach. Tackling resilience first, you need to show that you faced the setback calmly and with determination. Our article on resilience and how to demonstrate it will be of use here.
Moving onto innovation: essentially, you need to show that you found a way to overcome the adversity you faced. For this reason, the example you choose should have a positive outcome. Don’t be put off by the word innovation. This doesn’t mean your solution to the problem needed to be an out-of-this world invention or a never-been-done-before idea. Sometimes simple ideas are the most effective.