Sector skills: Civil service

Two local civil service employers, Sussex Police and UK Border Force, talk about the skills they look for in new recruits.


Sussex Police

Sussex Police serves East and West Sussex and the city of Brighton & Hove - an area of 3,780km. A resident population of 1.65m grows significantly with millions of visitors, holidaymakers, students, seasonal workers and the 39 million passengers who travel through Gatwick Airport.  The county has a varied mix of smaller coastal towns and different rural communities, with some of England's most attractive countryside. There’s a lot of ground to cover. To do it well, we need people from different backgrounds with diverse skills and experience. Could this be you?

Our priorities are:

  • Protecting our communities
  • Catching criminals
  • Delivering an outstanding service to victims, witnesses and the public
Sussex Police Logo

The force has almost 2,500 police officers and 1,800 police staff, 196 police community support officers and a team of dedicated volunteers that includes over 230 special constables and around 190 police cadets.

From your first day with us, no matter which role you hold, you will start a career which makes a real difference. You will be supported; offered great learning experiences, development opportunities and the chance to progress. When you join Sussex Police, you become part our policing family – we are with you each step of the way.

In all of our roles, we’re looking for people who have enthusiasm, dedication and drive to help others wherever possible and will work with us to have a workplace where we enjoy coming to work and are committed to, and take pride in, being ourselves; being the best we can be. Some of the skills that we look for are:

  • The ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team
  • Good problem solving and use of own initiative
  • Excellent verbal and written communication

We offer a competitive benefits package including:

  • Competitive salary
  • Highly competitive pension scheme
  • Access to discounts, savings and cash back rewards
  • Opportunities to join various support networks, staff associations and sports club
  • To support your health and wellbeing we have excellent welfare services including employee assistance program, chaplaincy support and mental health first aiders who offer in-house service to support you mental health and wellbeing when you need it. Diffusers also offer post incident trauma support
  • Opportunity to progress through the ranks and/or specialise in an area of policing that interests you most

Police officers make challenging decisions which impact the public every day. They face complex issues, often in dangerous situation, with growing demands from digital investigation and vulnerable individuals our entry route recognise constables operate at a level where they take personal responsibility for decisions in complex, unpredictable environments and help provide the skills and capabilities necessary for policing in the 21st Century.

Entry routes into Sussex Police

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

Join as a Police Officer and achieve a BSc (Hons) degree in Professional Policing Practice, fully funded by Sussex Police.

One A Level Grade A*-C or equivalent Level 3 qualification that is a minimum of 32 UCAS and GCSE Grade A*-C/4-9 or level 2 functional skills in both Maths and English or education equivalent to Level 2 required at point of application.

We are opening for recruitment for this entry route on Monday 10th of May. If this is the career for you, please register your interest online.

Degree Holder Entry Programme

Aimed at those who have an undergraduate degree in any subject. You will work towards a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice whilst you train as a Police Officer

Have successfully completed, and be able to evidence, a UK undergraduate degree (360 credits) in any subject at point of application.

Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme

Aimed at those who have an undergraduate degree in any subject. You will work towards a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice whilst you train as a Police Officer. You will also sit the National Investigators’ Examination to become a fully accredited Detective.

Have successfully completed, and be able to evidence, a UK undergraduate degree (360 credits) in any subject at point of application.

For more details on all of our entry routes and roles including Police Community Support Officer, Contact Officer, Special Constable and Police Staff please visit the Sussex Police website.


Border Force

Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office. We secure the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

We have approximately 450 employees at Gatwick all of variable lengths of service.  Some in excess of 30 years and some that have only arrived in the last 6 months. We have various grades including apprentices, assistant officers and officers and management roles.

Border Force Logo white on black

When recruiting staff we look for the following skills:

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to be confident when working with the public
  • Experience as a team-player, supporting colleagues and team members to deliver key outcomes
  • The ability to plan, collaborate, and deliver, including through others, to short deadlines
  • Good written and oral communication and data entry skills

If you are an external candidate, you must hold two A Levels at Grade E or higher. Please note that we will also accept equivalent qualifications at the same level achieved from a wide range of formal academic and vocational training providers as determined by Ofqual, including, for example, qualifications obtained in Scotland or some BTEC and higher level NVQs. You must have already been awarded the qualification(s) and must be able to provide your certificate(s) at interview.

If you do not hold the minimum qualifications listed above you must meet one of the criteria below before applying:

  • Border Force will also consider applications from individuals with relevant skills and experience gained from security, regulatory or investigatory work that might be successfully utilised in the Border Force Officer role
  • Examples of relevant experience include previous work for Border Force, immigration casework, revenue compliance and fraud investigation, although this list is not exhaustive

We are committed to investing in our staff and offer a range of work-based training and qualifications, coaching and mentoring opportunities, with a guaranteed five days of learning and five days volunteering per year. A career in Border Force can be extremely rewarding and you will be supported through a training programme of several courses. Your training period is crucial to preparing you for your initial career as a Border Force officer. These roles can be physically demanding and if successful you will be required to complete and pass specialist training including Personal Safety Training (PST) which develops skills in personal safety, arrest and restraint techniques. This demands physical activity and physical contact with delegates on the course. You will be required to complete a PST health declaration and, if necessary, attend a medical examination. A formal offer will be conditional upon you being physically fit to undertake and pass the training.


While posts are open to full and part-time staff. Due to the current business position, part-time opportunities are very limited and cannot be guaranteed

Staff benefits include:

  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension
  • AHW up to 40% on top of pay

We are recruiting any time now for up to 100 Officers.

Find out more about the work of Border Force.