Isla worked as a young Private Investigator from the age of 17 and was with us, full-time and part-time, for a number of years in which time she had many adventures working undercover, on surveillance, researching, training employees under our Challenge 25 programme and test purchasing. Her amenable personality made her a professional ambassador for the company, often presenting to business clubs
While working as a young Investigator, Isla had this to say:
I’m not going to lie, it is really cool being able to say that you are a Private Investigator, and it is a great conversation starter, but there is more to it than just the glamour of being able to SAY you’re a detective. There’s what you have to DO while being a detective and it doesn’t involve wearing trench coats and dark glasses and hiding around corners! I spoke of some of my first experiences when interviewed on Liberty Radio and later days on Brooklands FM. I first became involved with Answers when working for them on a Challenge 25operational project. Working ‘undercover’ and earning some money whilst putting my acting skills to use literally sounded like a dream come true! I’ve never been a person who can stay in one place/job for too long and this just sounded perfect for me. So off I went with Nigel and Emily down to the south coast of England to spend the day shopping. Yes really. My new job was to go out and buy cigarettes and alcohol and find out whether the people in these shops would ask me for ID or not. 12 shops and 200 miles later I was hooked
Within a week I was searching through ‘deleted’ emails and computer files for evidence; the company do a lot of forensics work, which means masses of collation afterward. After two weeks, I was sitting in cars doing surveillance, using hidden cameras and staging undercover operations! After three months, I am well and truly in love with this job! It doesn’t matter that I occasionally have to dress up in dusty (and horribly unflattering) school uniform and make a prat out of myself, or suffer the embarrassment of the pictures of such days stuck up around the office, or as a certain someone thinks is reeeeally funny - as my computer background!
Answers Investigation gives me the opportunity to do something different every day, from helping clients to jumping in a car and following someone, with no idea what’s going to happen or where your going to end up. It’s never nine to five with this job, never the same thing twice, it makes you think fast and act faster. I love that it’s challenging and never simple. Most of all, the people I work with are fun, down to earth and we generally have loads of fun together. This job gives me freedom, responsibility, it's impossible to be bored and rewarding when you get thanked
Here's an update, a month after writing this - I'm now being trained to take people's fingerprints and to help with crime scene analysis. Fingerprints are now often used as a means of identification for business clients working overseas, or involved in foreign business deals. Recording someone's prints digitally and with ink is far from easy - it takes a sensitive touch and a lot of reassurance to the person having their prints taken to get a good impression. I was initially surpised quite how tactile you need to be to get a good job done - but it does make me feel like a masterspy!