From aspiring apprentice to inspiring others
Chloe Capewell is one of three apprentices in our busy Forensics team and is loving the challenge of her new career. Here she talks about why she decided on a Forensics career, as we mark National Apprenticeship’s Week 2022 and International Day of Women In Science.
When thinking about what path to take, Chloe, aged 20, read features about past Forensics apprentices and was inspired to follow in their footsteps – and now she’s the one hoping to encourage apprentices of the future by telling her story for National Apprenticeships Week 2022.
Five years ago I was indulging in crime programmes wishing I could be a part of it. Little did I know my future self would be one out of thousands who applied for an apprenticeship and was successful! I never thought it was possible to achieve an apprenticeship in forensics but it’s incredible how many opportunities there are for someone who has never worked in this sector before.
I was never convinced by the idea of university, I have always enjoyed being practical instead of completing coursework or exams. It was never my strong point either. I enjoyed getting hands on with my work and I learnt by being practical rather than reading. I wanted my studying to be enjoyable and more tailored to me. I know university has the experience but who said you cannot enjoy yourself with a job, while being paid. It was a win-win for me. At the end of this apprenticeship I will achieve a Level 3 Laboratory Technician certificate and this will be the start of my career in forensics. I think WMP offering apprenticeships to aspiring people like myself, to offer a gateway into this field, is incredible and one I hope they continue for generations. Believe me when I say I count my lucky stars every day for successfully securing this role and I encourage others to follow their dreams. University is not for everyone!
As an apprentice, I am the first point of contact for most jobs and opportunities that come into the Fingerprint Development Lab (FDL) and I see all types of jobs that come in and out. The days are never the same! I deal with submissions into FDL, complete the initial chemical treatment and keep the lab running. I get the chance to have hands on experience with using different chemicals to develop prints and administration areas of making sure the continuity of exhibits is kept. There is a huge responsibility that I never thought I would be able to have with an apprenticeship but I have developed so many skills throughout my time here. My duties include the opportunity to support other departments such as the Fingerprint Bureau and the Major Crime Lab.
Being a helpful person has its benefits (and put backs) as I have been given so many opportunities. I have been one of the first points of contact to give tours to visitors (even at the request of Assistant Chief Constables!), being involved in police recruitment days and being a part of a mentoring scheme for a colleague. I have had so many opportunities to grow my portfolio and also my confidence. It’s so rewarding! Being able to have a day with a Forensic Scene Investigator and a Crime Scene Coordinator has made me appreciate how much all of the individuals in WMP do for the public and the wider West Midlands. Everyone puts their heart and soul into their roles and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.
I have met some incredible people while on this job. You talk to different levels of officers, detectives and FSIs and everyone wants you to achieve. At the age of 20 I have already begun a happy, (hopefully) long career in Forensic Services and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity. I am looking forward to see where being a part of the team takes me in future.
If you’d like to know more about careers here at WMP, visit: WMP Jobs – West Midlands Police Vacancies (west-midlands.police.uk)