"I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience of working in the industry and constantly meeting new people. Having the opportunity to go on search warrants was one of the most exciting parts of the placement as I was able to see how an investigation progresses from an initial warrant to being submitted to the Hi-Tech Crime Unit for examination. These are opportunities that I would’ve never experienced from my university course alone, so I made sure to value every opportunity offered to me."
I never intended to do a placement but was aware of this opportunity being very beneficial to someone wanting to go down this career path. When I graduate, I need something to separate me from the rest of my peers when applying for jobs. Having a year’s worth of experience in the workplace was the ideal opportunity to do just this. As well as gaining work experience, it would allow me to gain a real insight into the career I was interested in and the different areas I could potentially work in.
I attended search warrants which involved assisting with the triaging of devices at the scene, regularly imaging devices in preparation for examiners, using forensic software to examine computers and mobile phones, all while working in line with ISO 17025. Through my everyday responsibilities and tasks, I regularly interacted with officers within the force regarding work I completed for them.
I’ve worked on a variety of projects during my placement including playing a part in the inter-laboratory comparison scheme and producing standard operating procedures (SOPs). The SOP I produced has been implemented into a quality document which is used by those within the unit.
My main highlights involve going on many successful warrants and learning so much while on these. No two warrants were the same and you could never predict what would happen! Throughout my placement, I received positive feedback from officers I’d completed work for, usually mobile phones, and formed good friendships with others in the office.
I certainly underestimated the amount of knowledge and skills I would gain from the placement when I initially started. It’s completely true that the cyber industry is a constant learning environment. You can never know everything in this industry, but the skills and knowledge gained from the placement goes some way towards that. My knowledge in terms of mobile phones has definitely improved throughout this placement and most of my workload involved mobile phones. When I first started, I was so nervous about handling the exhibits coming into the department, but this placement has improved my handling of these items, as well as improving my knowledge of computers and policing in general.
When I graduate, trying to find graduate employment amongst my peers is my biggest worry. However, this placement has offered me so much which will hopefully separate me from those also graduating. I’m more confident about working in this industry now as I know it is definitely for me. I would never have experienced any of the warrants or general exhibit handling through university alone. Not only have I gained skills and knowledge, I have also been able to interact and network with those in the industry which will benefit me throughout my career. I also had no idea of the number of opportunities within both the public and private sector that my degree is relevant to, so this gives me so much more confident for graduating next year.
I found out about the placement through the university when Gwent Police did a presentation advertising the internship. I applied through the University’s Careers Service. I had a mock interview through the Careers Service to help improve my interview skills.
I’m excited for my final year and I feel a lot more confident about graduating. It will be a change going back to academic work after working full time for a year in the industry but I’m looking forward to it.
From the very start of my placement I was encouraged to consider my final year project. The placement has given me a project idea which allows me to utilise the opportunities offered to me at Gwent Police.