Name: Rebekah Muldowney
Where are you based for your work placement and what were the reasons behind your choice?
I am based at the CSI Unit with Nottinghamshire Police, part of East Midlands Special Operations Unit – Forensic Science (EMSOU-FS). I chose this placement as I am keen to get a job in Crime Scene Investigation on graduation. A placement seemed like a greatopportunity to gain real world experience on the job. Vacancies for CSI positions are few and far between, and competition for the jobs is extremely high. Completing a work placement will enhance the list of other extra curricular activities and skills that I am building in my Forensic Employability Skills Portfolio, to attempt to set myself against this competition when it comes to applying for a job.
What have you been involved with so far?
Every day of my placement so far has been a real 'day in the life' of a CSI. I have had the opportunity to go out to crime scenes every day with different levels of CSI. Some days are volume scenes, e.g. burglaries and break-ins, other days have been murder scenes with full PPE worn, or visiting a victim of assault to take injury photographs, or cutting the airbags from a car for DNA analysis. I have observed and assisted with finger mark and footwear mark enhancement and recovery. Following scene visits, I have accompanied the CSI back to the office, and assisted with uploading scene photography and inputting details of the case onto the force systems. I have accompanied my line manager to a meeting with a Senior Investigating Officer, and have met and spoken with detectives about cases they are working on.
How do you feel your work placement will help with your studies?
The placement is helping me to put into practice the theory that we learn at the University, and to understand how it translates into a real working environment. It is enhancing my knowledge, and because I am experiencing the practical aspects of the job every day, I am becoming more familiar with techniques and procedures that we don't have chance to practice every day at University.
What has been the favourite part of your work placement experience so far?
Going out to crime scenes – my expectation was that the role would be primarily admin based, but my line manager and the other CSIs have been fully supportive in allowing me to accompany them to scenes I wouldn't have imagined going to in my first few weeks! Each time I go out with someone new, I have the opportunity to get to know them, and see how everybody works.
What would you say to anyone interested in doing a work placement as part of their course?
Do it! I was worried about adding an extra year on to my studies, especially being a mature student, but the experience that I am gaining is invaluable. I have gained an insight into just how hard it is to get a job as a CSI, so without this opportunity I wouldn't stand a chance. I am working a part-time job at weekends as well as my placement Monday to Friday - I am shattered, but loving every minute. Just grab every opportunity you can to get experience!