Second-year criminology and forensic studies students Rosie Grant, 20, and Hollie Easen, 31, have been trained by experts at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
They spent one day a week for three months at the service’s headquarters while studying at the University of Portsmouth.
‘The scheme has given me confidence to go out and pursue a career in an area I had never considered before,’ said Rosie.
‘I’ve had a great time learning and meeting new people, and I’ve made great contacts for the future.
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‘We did everything the investigators did – go to fire scenes, attend training days, worked with the fire dogs, and got cut out of a car at incident response training.’
‘I have decided that this is what I want to do when I leave university.
‘I’m going to apply for a year-long placement with Hampshire Fire & Rescue during my sandwich year.’
Hollie added: ‘It was an amazing 12 weeks, and I have learned so much.
‘The team’s enthusiasm was great – they all put themselves out to teach us everything they could in the time we were there.
‘We got to use skills gained at university at real scenes, rather than in the classroom.
‘It’s definitely made me think this is a career I could pursue in the future.’
The students study fire investigation as part of their course.
Station manager Damian Watts said the internship scheme helped the fire investigation team had benefited from an academic perspective.
Mr Watts – a former University of Portsmouth student – said: ‘This has been an unrivalled experience for Rosie and Hollie.
‘Being a fire investigator is about getting your hands dirty – excavating through the debris and being able to recognise when a badly burned object is significant, or if the damage occurred because of the fire.’
The scheme with Hampshire Fire & Rescue is set to run again this academic year, with two interns to be taken on in September 2016 and another two in January 2017.