A NSW Northern Rivers woman is set to become a real Charlie’s Angel, after the Covid-19 pandemic upended her career in the beauty industry.
Grace, who did not want to divulge her last name due to the nature of her job, was forced to find a new passion when constant closures and severe restrictions interrupted her beauty therapy business.
Having more free time, her talent for problem solving, her willingness to help others and her determination to try something new inspired Grace to pursue a career as a private investigator (PI).
Although she was always intrigued by the mystery, Grace told news.com.au it was the case of missing 18-year-old backpacker Theo Hayez that drew her to the PI world.
“Theo disappeared in Byron and it was a really fascinating case with a lot of mystery. Just having the ability to investigate as a local sparked interest,” she said.
The young Belgian tourist, who was in Australia for a six-month holiday, disappeared after a night out in the NSW town on May 31, 2019.
Reports suggest an allegedly inebriated Theo was kicked out of the Cheeky Monkeys bar, before CCTV footage captured him walking alone before vanishing from frame, never to be seen again.
Months later, mobile data retrieved from Theo’s phone revealed the tourist had followed a messy route before falling off the grid.
Theo’s body was never found and although police believe he may have drowned, his family hope he is still alive.
The desire to give answers to loved ones of missing people is what fuels Grace’s passion in her new venture.
“It’s about taking care of people and giving them something they need but don’t have yet, which is often closure or whatever you can provide,” he said. she stated.
Grace is currently enrolled in a Certificate III in Investigative Services at the Professional Investigators College of Australasia (PICA). When she graduates, she can apply for a full IP license.
Gregory Lamey is a workplace investigator and founder and CEO of PICA. He said more than 350 students are enrolled in the Cert III course nationwide, which consists of 16 units of study.
Mr Lamey told news.com.au there is more to being a private detective than depicted in the movies or depicted in the media.
“The traditional view of an investigator is just someone who follows up on unfaithful partners or tries to catch dodgy WorkCover claimants or maybe drives a red Ferrari like Magnum,” Mr Lamey said.
“It’s still the case, they’re called surveillance investigators, but a modern investigator has a wide range of tasks in many different industries. For example, investigators work in government, private companies and in private for customers.
Once a student has completed the course and received a full IP license, there are a range of investigative pathways they can take and additional courses a student can take to help them enter the field Of his choice.
“There is a wide range of specialist investigative roles like cybercrime, open source intelligence (OSINT), HR investigations, anti-money laundering, fraud, bullying and harassment, and a range specialist areas,” said Lamey.
Grace has her eye on skip tracing, which is looking for someone who deliberately disappears.
“The ‘jump’ part refers to someone intentionally disappearing or ‘skipping’ town. The ‘trace’ part is finding or tracing someone’s location,” Grace said.
“This could include finding a long-lost family member or friend, serving documents for debt collection or child support issues. It is interesting for me because it involves the same principles of investigation as missing persons.
Grace had the opportunity to work with an IP firm throughout her studies and says it’s a path she’s considering once she qualifies.
In the meantime, she plans to complete her course in the next few weeks and is looking forward to immersing herself in the industry.
“Hopefully I can do that and apply for a license which will take six weeks to come.”
Mr. Lamey said those considering becoming PIs need to be curious, detailed and knowledgeable about their work.
“Women, in particular, make excellent investigators because they are generally detailed, task-oriented, highly organized, and have excellent written and verbal communication skills,” he said.
“It’s also an option for someone who wants to tread water. It can certainly be a very interesting career, full-time or part-time.
Depending on level of experience, type of work and who you work for, IPs earn an average of $100,000 per year. Meanwhile, independent investigators can earn up to $250,000.
For those looking to pursue a career in private investigation, Lamey recommends taking the course alongside your day-to-day work, but also gaining industry experience by becoming a contractor for some of the biggest companies in the world. country.
“Start by doing some work and see if it’s something that suits your lifestyle. Pay rates for entry-level CPs are quite low, $25-$60 per hour, so have a workaround. Once you become known in the industry and have proven yourself, you will become a very marketable and sought after investigator,” he said.
Lamey also recommends joining professional organizations such as the Australian Institute of Professional Investigators (AIPI), as well as field-specific organizations such as the Australian Association of Workplace Investigators for work professionals and of HR.
“The modern private detective is no longer the ex-cop who wears a trench coat and smokes cigars. In fact, those who want to be a private detective do not need to have any law enforcement training or experience.