Vicky - Skills Champion and former Forensic Science competitor
After competing in the WorldSkills UK Forensic Science Competition at WorldSkills UK LIVE 2017, Vicky knew that this was the career for her. Now, two years on, she’s studying Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice at John Moores University in Liverpool.
Vicky studied at Southern Regional College (SRC) in Northern Ireland, where she completed a Level 2 and 3 BTEC in Public Services.
While she was studying, her tutor decided to give her class the opportunity to build on their skills and learn something completely new – she was asked to take part in the WorldSkills UK Forensic Science Competition. She was one of 4 students from her college who made it through to the Northern Ireland regional heats.
During her training, she was supported by a Forensic Officer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). They showed her the basic skills she would need and helped her hone these skills to the high level needed for National Competitions.
Vicky was thrilled to represent Northern Ireland at WorldSkills UK LIVE. Although traditionally associated with showcasing trade skills, she was excited to compete in an innovative scientific skill like Forensic Science.
This Competition has been designed to reflect the role of a forensic scientist, including skills such as time management, planning and problem solving. Competitors are given a crime scene brief and are asked to investigate and process the scientific evidence. This includes understanding photographic evidence and how to prepare documents for use in court.
Vicky’s hard work and passion paid off – she won the Gold Medal for Forensic Science at the National Finals in 2017.
A real confidence boost
Vicky says that taking part in the WorldSkills UK Forensic Science Competition has benefited her technical skills and boosted her self-confidence. Taking part in the Competition helped her explore her career options and decide what she wanted to do after she left college.
‘I wasn’t that confident before I took part, but I was competing against the best of the best and won – it made me realise how far I’d come,’ she says. ‘Competing at WorldSkills UK LIVE was really nerve-wracking but really rewarding. It’s completely different to what I expected. I found the awards ceremony really helpful for meeting other competitors and building up my network. The head judge worked in Forensic Accountancy – I didn’t even know that was a career until I competed!’
Thanks to the Competition, Vicky knew that Forensic Science was something she wanted to explore as a career. She would encourage anybody considered entering WorldSkills UK Competitions to take the plunge:
‘If you’re interested in getting involved, go for it. It’s a great way to find out about the different career routes out there – everybody’s experience is different and equally rewarding!’