Working towards my dream job in the heart of the community
Student spotlight | Khizar Akbar, BA (Hons) Criminology
I am a happy-go-lucky individual, from carefree at times to someone who’s absolutely passionate on everything crime-related and attentive on worldly affairs. Football fanatic, #itscominghome.
Q1 - Tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been doing since you graduated
Since I graduated, I went on to complete further study over at the University of Leeds. I found myself wanting to get more out of studying and ultimately specialise in the interest of specific crime and so did an MA, whilst working part-time as a customer service adviser. This then got me into local government as an intelligence officer and now on to a graduate programme on the Police Now scheme.
Q2 - What have been the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Challenges can never be talked about enough, but I’d have to say ensuring I had the right professional experience got me where I am in terms of career development and job opportunities. Particularly when completing my BA and MA, working at the same time as studying part-time has proved crucial. That life experience and day-to day interaction is vital. This is not without challenges in terms of balancing work and study, as well as working somewhere that perhaps is not your long-term aim.
There are of course also benefits. I would say the highlight so far has been my role as an intelligence officer within local government. I played a key role in assisting a multi-agency operation in conducting Covid compliance checks across businesses. It has been great to be part of the front line, assisting with the pandemic.
Q3 - How has your experience studying at Leeds Beckett influenced you and your career?
I think it really rounded me as an individual and got me where I wanted to be. Truthfully, I had not intended to be at the university or even studying criminology, but due to personal circumstances this was my direction, and in hindsight I can see the benefits. The tutors were fantastic in their academic teaching and professionalism, understanding you as a person, and providing support throughout. Without any of that, I would not have had the desire to continue studying and subsequently would not be at the point where I am starting my dream career.
Studying policing and social control in my second year gave me an insight into the legitimacy and accountability of the police. This led to the pathway I am on now and a career interest in wanting to join the Police Now programme, which aims to change some of the challenges and approaches to policing. The police-oriented modules within criminology at Leeds Beckett brought a special focus of study and really set my tone in wanting to pursue a career where I could be part of that change and story.
Q4 - What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?
If I was starting this course again, I would just say be ready and open. Criminology is a vast degree within the social sciences and there is so much scope to pursue further, both long-term career-wise and academically. I went on to study elements of terror-related crime, but friends and colleagues love financial crime and other aspects. More generally, we see a lot of individuals pursue academic careers within criminology or go into support or victim-oriented roles.
It’s an enriching and enlightening course that gives you a real overview and is not rigid in the options you have once you graduate. That is not to say that you shouldn’t have some direction, it certainly helps to have a crime-related interest.
Q5 - What's next for you?
I aim to complete my time within local government as an intel officer within the Community Safety team and prepare myself to go on to the dream job in the Police Now programme in the National Graduate Leadership scheme. It is a degree entry programme which will see me start training in August this year and aims to place me within the heart of a community, specialising in problem solving and neighbourhood policing.