"We needed individuals with strong analytical skills, no pre-conceived ideas of what an appropriate investigation should or shouldnt be."
The By Design Group has turned out its first ever fully qualified graduate ‘super sleuths’ from its investigations school. Mumina Khatun, 24 years old and Rebecca Cannon, 25 years old, both joined the group in September 2017 straight out of university and have undergone a two-year formal training programme to teach them how to investigate often highly-sensitive employment disputes. They will spend a further year working entirely in-the-field with help from mentors before working alone.
Both ladies graduated with a 2:1 degree in Geography – a coincidence – from The University of Manchester (Mumina) and The University of Nottingham (Rebecca), and both were hired as Graduate Trainee Case Investigators. They were the first two graduates taken onto the newly created investigator training programme by By Design Group and were both given a mentor to learn the ropes of how to investigate multi-faceted employment matters whilst ensuring compliance with core legislation and ACAS guidance.
“There was a huge skills gap – most investigators come from either an HR or police background and although each has its merits, we wanted people who could understand and empathise with the HR side of investigations work but could also put together cases that would stand up to legal scrutiny,” explains Lauren Anderson, principal investigator, By Design Group.
“We needed individuals with strong analytical skills, no pre-conceived ideas of what an appropriate investigation should or shouldn’t be, and who were keen to establish a career with a difference – graduates were the perfect choice.
“The trainees have had a mix of structured learning and development and on-the-job training which means that after a third year entirely ‘in-the-field’ they will be able to work alone. It’s been the best decision we ever made, a driving force behind the success of the investigations business, and we will definitely be recruiting more graduates in the future.”
Rebecca Cannon, graduate case investigator said: “Like most university graduates, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I stumbled across the job advert on Facebook and thought it looked really interesting – the role was like nothing I’d ever heard of before and I knew it would be something a bit different.
“I wasn’t ready for just how varied the role is – I’ve done tasks I never knew existed including writing a schedule of allegations, working on questions for witnesses and drafting rationale of the reports whilst learning from top investigators and lawyers. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve asked myself “Does that really happen in the workplace?”
“It’s been an amazing two years leading to a long and interesting career ahead. I’d make the same decision again in a heartbeat.”
Mumina Khatun, graduate case investigator said: “The investigations programme has offered me a wide range of skills and the opportunity to work across different departments and disciplines. Although I’m based in the investigations team, I have had the opportunity to work with both employment lawyers and HR consultants which has provided invaluable experience and a balanced view on where the role of workplace investigations fits.
“I love working at By Design Group – it’s a friendly, professional and very knowledgeable bunch of people who look out for each other. I hope I’m here for many years to come.”