Teenage lifeguard aims to save lives with the police

  • Emily one of 91 apprentices who have begun working with police
  • GMP expecting to recruit as many as 150 apprentices by next year
  • Recruits will gain qualifications in business administration 

Life is hectic enough for 19-year-old lifeguard Emily Balshaw but soon it could become a lot more hectic and even end up with her saving lives.

Her new role as an apprentice with Greater Manchester Police involves her handling calls made to police number 101 before they are directed to a control room, crime reporting unit or emergency line.

Emily is one of 91 new recruits to GMP’s apprenticeship scheme.

Emily said: “There’s only so much you can do with lifeguarding, you get somebody out of the water and pass them onto the ambulance and I want to be more involved.

“It highlights realities to you, you connect with the people, you provide support and it’s nice to do that, it’s rewarding to know you are helping people.”

Apprentices are to also study for qualifications in business administration and customer service.

“You get sent coursework and units to complete, you meet with the tutor to guide you with that and we’re even offered mentors, the amount of support given is great,” she said.

“I’m hoping to use the experience I gain while here as part of my future role as a special constable, and I’m also wishing to one day become a police officer. It’s also a pathway, it gets you into the organisation first, lets the people get to know you.

“If you want to do it, just jump for it, do it, I decided instead of going to university I’d do this, experience is just as important as qualifications nowadays and with this you’re getting the experience as well as the qualification.”

Apprentices are expected to spend a year working in admin, support roles and as part of the call handling team in the force’s communication branch while also studying for a qualification in business administration and customer care. The apprenticeship programme has involved more than 300 young people across Greater Manchester.