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This is a guest blog by Olivia Starr, currently in her third year studying BA (Hons) Sociology and Criminology.

Studying at BU has always appealed to me. I spent every summer of my childhood at Bournemouth beach and it’s always felt like a second home. But unlike my friends, I came to BU three years after I initially applied. At school I initially wanted to study Marketing but found myself in an apprenticeship and although accepted into BU, I didn’t take the opportunity. A few years down the line I learnt so much about the workplace and what did and didn’t suit me, including my career path. I knew the corporate life wasn’t for me and my heart was drawn to helping people and making an impact on people’s lives. With that, I applied to BU through Clearing on my lunch break and never looked back.

In second year, I decided to partake in the 20-day Placement Unit because I wanted to have work experience but wasn’t sure on committing a whole year out of studying. After looking for opportunities and struggling to find anything centred around rehabilitation, I was informed that there was a position that had just come up with Dorset Police in their Out of Court Disposal Department (OoCD). I immediately applied and was so excited because it involved analysing the effectiveness of a new pilot study to reduce re-offending.

I was so grateful to have been successful in my application, and my placement was set between January-March 2020. The OoCD team welcomed me with open arms and gave me so much support during my time there. They were flexible and accommodating which allowed me to explore my full potential and develop confidence in my work.

I was given an abundance of opportunities including the attendance of workshops with their diversionary partners. This included meeting an individual who has directly benefited from the outstanding support Dorset Police provide which I was extremely grateful to have experienced.

I left placement completely inspired by community-based rehabilitation which in turn has influenced my own studies. The opportunity of placement has meant I’m working in partnership with the OoCD team for my undergraduate dissertation which I could not be more grateful for. I am so fortunate to have gained invaluable networks which have not only supported me with my studies but will also support my future career.

I went into placement with one idea of what I wanted to do after university yet came out so inspired by the work Dorset Police do and the career opportunities possible. With their support I was able to develop and build upon my strengths including the development of analytical skills which in turn has inspired my future career path.

I am incredibly grateful that Dorset Police welcomed me to take part in a real study and believed in my ability to support their evaluation. I have gained salient life skills as well as career opportunities and only wish I could do it all over again.





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