A FORMER police officer who swapped the custody suite for the classroom two years ago has won a national award for her inspirational teaching.

Katy Graham was presented with the VQ Newly Qualified FE Teacher of the Year Award at a prestigious ceremony in London earlier this month.

She completed her Certificate in Education Post Compulsory Certificate in Education and Training at Bishop Auckland College and in 2012 was appointed as a part time lecturer teaching travel and tourism and uniformed services.

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She was promoted to learning area leader for sport and uniformed services and in her first year in the role.

The 28-year-old has since been further promoted to learning area manager for uniformed public services and sport, with teaching responsibilities.

As a result of her close links with Durham Police, the college has been able to develop a new higher education qualification starting in September designed for students planning a career in the police and related services such as criminal profiling.

The ex-police constable, of Bishop Auckland, said: “It was working with young offenders in the latter part of my policing career that prompted me to move into the education sector.

“Seeing the change in young people, from having few qualifications to being job ready is extremely rewarding.”

Bishop Auckland College principal and chief executive Natalie Davison added: “She takes the time to listen to students and motivates them to succeed, having a natural flair when communicating to her students in an engaging, motivational and inspirational way.”