Emma undertook a work experience placement during the summer holidays of her English Literature degree. Having found it difficult to settle on what direction to take in the world of work, private investigation was the job that captured her, after spending her childhood recording notes using invisible ink in her very own ‘spy notebook’
On her first day she was thrown into the thick of things, being presented with a hidden camera and jumping into a car to follow a man who owed his ex-landlord several thousands of pounds. Over the next couple of weeks her tasks included locating two daughters who had been estranged from their mother, knocking on doors and speaking to neighbourhood residents to find another long lost family member, and navigating country roads, SLR camera in hand, in order to provide evidence of a woman going to work when she had claimed otherwise; mix this with hours standing on a Central London street watching the entrance to an office building and acting as 'second' on a number of surveillance exercises
"This was the most absorbing two weeks I have spent in years, to the extent I am completely hooked. It's not just the work, it's the people I was lucky enough to work with - all decent, honest and professional but still able to have fun. You do need a sense of humour - while I am currently in my final year at Durham University, at 22 I look a lot younger. I should have suspected something when Olivia persuaded me of the need to wear a school uniform and act 15 in order to test purchase some stores under Challenge 25"
" It went fine in the first store, however when I emerged from the second I discovered that two of my colleagues had decided to 'suddenly leave' on an "urgent assignment" leaving me stranded. Standing by the roadside looking 15, with hardly any money and my own phone back in the office was more than a little embarrassing, especially as we had seen a group of genuine schoolkids from the same school a few minutes before. Fortunately it didn't last long, however I then had the delight of our visiting a local pub with me still dressed as a Year 10. They served me a Gin and Tonic without batting an eyelid - so much for Challenge 25 diligence!"
"During that week the company had been asked to be the focus of a feature on young female detectives for a National newspaper; to accompany the article I went for a photoshoot with two 'old hands' - Emily and Olivia. We capped a day of clothes, shoes, hair and makeup (the way to a girls heart) with a drink by the Thames followed by Yo Sushi and - guess what - another drink. Having just caught the last train, I reflected the next night on the same last train having on that day spent a day which involved serving papers in Edgware and West Drayton and several hours Central Londonsurveillance - quite a contrast! Having been offered a job in my next Uni break, I shall be coming back!"