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From volunteer to permanent career

From the age of 11 Katrina Harrold’s dream was to have a career in forensics and thanks to volunteering that dream has now become a reality.

For the past year she has been working as a volunteer in the fascinating world of West Midlands Police forensic services department. 

Katrina Howard forensic services volunteerDuring her time she has worked in the laboratories, experienced life as a forensic scene investigator and predominantly worked in the fingerprint development lab, where she found her calling.

She has been at the forefront of discovering new ways to test items for fingerprints and is really proud of finding ways to enhance techniques in the way polymer bank notes are tested.

Alongside volunteering 30 hours a week Katrina also holds down a part time job as an accountancy and admin assistant at a local business.

The 22-year-old studied a Forensic Science Degree at the University of Wolverhampton and stayed on an extra year to complete her masters in 2018.

As part of her studies she visited the force’s forensics services where she found out about volunteering opportunities.

Katrina, said: “From the very first day I started my volunteer placement I’ve been made really welcome. The team are so lovely in fact I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced is my commute as I have to drive along the M6 every day to get to work.

“When I was studying I knew I wanted a career in forensics and the volunteering placement seemed the perfect opportunity to increase my skills and experience. My studying really transfers well into the role but I’ve learned so much working in this environment.”

And she wants to encourage anyone else thinking of going into a career to consider volunteering to gain invaluable experience.

She said: “I have been lucky enough to secure a position and I feel very fortunate volunteering as I think it really helped me get this job. I was able to find out about vacancies and my experience really helped me in interview.

“To anyone who is thinking about getting into this line of work I’d definitely recommend looking into volunteering, it changed my life.”

The force is recruiting volunteers in the forensic services department – to find out more about the volunteering roles available click here:

Want to know more about the volunteering roles available in forensics?

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