Kristie’s placement as a forensic technician developed her knowledge and prepared her for her future career
I was unsure of the career path I wanted to take, but doing a placement gave me the opportunity to explore potential career ideas while developing new skills.
The University was advertising a placement for a forensic technician, so I emailed the senior technician to find out more about the role before applying. I was able to meet the previous placement participants and the rest of the team, and I took my application to the Careers and Employability Service who advised me how to improve it.
I applied to as many placements as I could, even ones without forensic work, as I wanted to gain interpersonal skills I could apply to any job once I graduated. I was offered two; the one at the University and another at Hampshire Constabulary.
I chose the University placement as I felt I would gain more practical work experience over the administration role that the police were providing.
The role involved supporting the forensic academic staff. I prepared equipment for practical sessions, created online content by simulating crime scenes and got to work on my own skills within a forensic environment, such as scene photography and fingermark development.
I was surprised by the amount of time it took for the technicians to set up practical work for the students - this was something I never thought about when arriving for the sessions in my first and second year. I feel more appreciative of the work that went into making them available to us.
I loved the anthropological elements of the placement - working with skeletal remains and taking part in bone organisation and labelling.
Without this experience, I wouldn’t have considered this aspect of forensic work. I’m looking to complete a Master's in this subject area as a result.
Taking a placement year is a great way to gain work experience. My advice for anyone thinking of doing a placement year? Look for as many opportunities as possible so you can decide which placement would suit you best. But any placement, whether it’s related to your area of interest or not, will give you transferable skills you can use in many ways.
A placement can also help you prepare for your dissertation by giving you more time to think about project ideas and get a head start on literature, so that you feel confident ahead of your final year.