How to track down your inner Sherlock Holmes
When you dread going to work and feel you’ve reached a glass ceiling, a career change could be right for you. Retraining can provide a highly satisfying new lease of life and unleash new personal ambitions and goals.
thousands of people take the plunge every year and leave behind their old careers in favour of a new profession, ranging from teaching to plumbing.
However, many choose to embark on something a little less conventional.
the Academy of Professional Investigation (API) is seeing rising numbers of people wanting to retrain with them as private investigators, at a cost of just £560 (for the full course).
It involves 12 modules that cover subjects such as electronics, tracing missing persons and process serving, as well as study of the legal system. Up to 250 people a year sign up for the distance-learning training course, which leads to an Edexcel Level 3 BTEC advanced diploma in private investigation.
Stuart Withers, director and founder of the academy, said of the course: ‘We have students from 18 to 80 years of age, from the UK, Europe and around the world. Most of them plan to make a living in the industry, while there are those who take the course as a hobby to learn about the secrets of private investigation.
‘At the present time, with redundancies, a lot of people are coming to us who are looking to do something new, where they can perhaps work for themselves.’
He added: ‘People gain the A to Z of becoming a private investigator through 260 hours of learning, and end up with a nationally recognised qualification. In this day and age, everyone needs to have qualifications.
‘It is a very rewarding and exciting job. every day is a different day, a different case.’
John Read, 48, from Portsmouth, had worked as a police community support officer for six years before retraining with the academy, which was launched in 1997.
He recently set up his own business, East2West Investigations, and also received his first job — which involved tracking down a missing person.
Mr Read said: ‘the man had been missing for five years and no one knew where he was. But, through diligent, professional work, I was able to find him.’
Another student, Russell Fleming, 45, from east Anglia, finished the academy’s course last October, having previously worked in events security and as a door supervisor.
He has set up Reach Investigations with a friend, Simon Battersby, who had also enrolled on the course.
He said: ‘I wanted to do something different and I decided to take the jump. I thoroughly enjoyed the course.’