On Duty with Doris – By Chris Tonge
September 7, 2016
I’ve always tried to look for opportunities. Back in high school when you have to make arguably your first big decision in life on what to study at college, I decided to study a BTEC in Public Services rather than A levels. I was looking at the bigger picture and thinking about the skills I wanted to have years down the line. I gained an insight into a breadth of subjects and built skills which can apply to a role in any walk of life, this was perfect for me as I wasn’t sure what profession I wanted to get into/ what career path I wanted to follow.
I’ve since graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Criminology.
Public Services at college and then Criminology at University. Some of you may be reading this and be assuming the next logical step would be to look for a career in the Police… well you’re half right!
Whilst at university I quickly learnt that employers are interested in what candidates offer on top of a good degree and/or work experience. They are interested in how you proactively develop yourself in your free time. I decided to join the Special Constabulary in Greater Manchester Police as I was looking for a challenge and something that would stand out on my CV.
I applied for Doris after attending a University Careers Fair. There I met Sarah and Lisa, 2 of Doris’s Associate Mentors as well as Caroline and Amrit – 2 of the Doris Graduate Team. I was taken aback by their focus on building skills through development opportunities and their emphasis on you as an individual.
Fast forward to today, a year into my career at Doris IT and I’ve improved on many soft and hard skills within my role as a Junior Project Manager at an Online Fashion Retailer based in Manchester City Centre.
Outside of work I’m now also a Special Sergeant in the Police and a qualifed football referee, moving up the ladder after achieving a promotion in both my policing and refereeing this year. I’m honoured to have been asked to manage a team of upto 10 special constables! On average this means dedicating an extra working week (around 40 hours) into each month to advance my personal development.
Working with the police on a voluntary basis presents difficult and challenging situations, situations that can quickly get out of hand if the wrong choices are made. I have to be prepared for the unexpected, whether this means dealing with someone who’s had a few too many drinks at the weekend or working to find a missing child. Situations can develop quickly and I’ve expeirenced this first hand.
As a Special Sergeant I can help the public by tackling crime and protecting people but I also bring the skills I’ve learnt from my Doris assignment to that role in helping other special constables with the management of their development plans. I’ve found Doris incredibly useful through the way they mentor and coach their team and I feel a great sense of achievement in being able to help others develop as Doris is developing me.
The biggest benefit for me is the work I do with the local community. Building relationships with members of the public is by far the most proactive policing tool to hand. I’ve taken part in school visits helping to form a bond from an early age between the public servies and the next generation. We talk about the role of the police and try to make their interactions with the police postive from the outset.
I enjoy the challenges of balancing my professioinal work life with Doris and my roles outside work. Sometimes I think I may need more time to unwind, however I’ve realised I prefer the challenge, the excitement and the opportunity which managing all of this brings and I would encourage anyone to do the same. I am On Duty with Doris. It’s not a choice between the two, my roles compliment each other perfectly.
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