Friday, 13 July 2018

A faster way to train as a teacher in Scotland

A fast-track teacher training course aimed at filling staff shortages in rural areas has received official accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) .The course covers the postgraduate diploma of education (PGDE) + teacher induction in 18 months (instead of 24 months) by reducing holidays. 

It aims to recruit teachers in chemistry, mathematics, physics, computing, and home economics. So chemistry and chemical engineering graduates would be very welcome to apply. It would really help your application if you have experience of working with children aged 11-18, especially in a classroom or coaching environment.
The course was developed by the universities of Dundee and the Highlands and Islands. It comes with a bursary of £22,500 and is open to students with a 2:1 undergraduate degree and above. Fee status varies depending on whether you are from Scotland, EU, Rest of UK or a non-EU country.
The universities will work with four rural local authorities - Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Highland and Scottish Borders - to enable trainee teachers to learn in their own local area with financial support from their council. There is a requirement to live in one of the rural areas for the entire 18 month duration. 
Applications are now open through clearing (no deadline given). Course starts December 2018 and finishes June 2020.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Vacancies for chemistry graduates at High Force Research

High Force are a CRO working in  a wide range of sectors including Pharma, Biotech, Fine Chemicals, Imaging and Engineering. They are undergoing a period of growth and are looking to recruit recent graduates to their team of chemists at their labs based at Bowburn, Durham or Wilton, Redcar.  Roles include Synthetic Organic Chemist and Quality Control Scientist.

The link for the job advert is below:

What can I do with a PhD?

Are you thinking about doing a PhD? But not sure about living happily ever after in Academia? Worried it all might be a horrific waste of time if you then go off and do something different?

We had a very enlightened PhD Horizons event last week - 30 speakers who had completed a PhD and were out there in the big wide world, making full use of it.

They included diverse roles such as:
  • Head of Fundraising, Aberlour
  • Risk Manager, Moody's Analytics
  • Research Operations Associate, Wood Mackenzie
  • Product Scientist, Diageo
  • Medical Writer, Comradis
There are lovely write ups and biographies from both the 2018 event and the 2017 event. Podcasts are to be added soon for the 2018 event. Even if you are not doing or contemplating a PhD, they make for fascinating reading.

For those of you currently doing a PhD, all those project management, analytical ability, problem-solving, and negotiation skills will never go to waste in the workplace. And the tenacity & resilience you need just to get through the 3-4 years is definitely character-forming. If you get through a PhD, you can cope with anything.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Not got the degree result you were hoping for?

I know the results are out now/soon. Hope you got what you wanted or needed.

Some people can be a bit worried if they get a 2.2 or a 3rd and they were expecting a 2./1st. It IS true that some big graduate employers specify a 2.1 or higher, but this is not true for all. Even the most popular recruiters sometimes take a more flexible approach. A 2.2/3rd might make it a bit harder and it might take longer, but if you spend some time researching employers (talking to them even!) you might be surprised by the opportunities that are open to you. Smaller employers are even more flexible and are usually more interested in your personality.

TargetJobs have a great post on the subject and it handily lists just some of the employers that are happy to look at your application with a 2.2/3rd. I won't list them all here, there's loads of them and you can see for yourself. There are some surprises - eg The Big 4 financial services firms used to be pretty rigid about having at least a 2.1 but now even they have relaxed a bit, with EY and Deloitte no longer screening you out. The Intellectual Property Office, NHS management scheme, National Grid, Jaguar Land Rover and (some) Civil Service Fast Stream roles also consider sub 2.1s.

I noted that Charles River Laboratories currently have over 100 jobs worldwide for chemists (including 8 in Tranent, 13 in rest of UK). Speaking to their HR officer today, she told me  they welcome Honours degrees of ANY grade. If you do look at their website, ignore the closing dates - HR informed me that if a vacancy is on the website, it's still available even if the closing date was a month ago (could be why they're not getting many applicants).

Some other employers accept a 2.2 as long as you go on and do a PG Masters or PhD afterwards. The NHS Trainee Clinical Scientist (Biochemistry) scheme is one example of this. Interestingly, there are currently Traineeships advertised for Glasgow and Edinburgh. Closing date 22 June. NB: Chemistry is happily accepted as a degree subject for the Biochemistry scheme, though it helps to emphasise any Medicinal and Biological courses you have taken.

I think the message here is ALWAYS ASK, even if it says 2.1. If you are keen on the job and think you could do the job, ask them if they would welcome your application.

Good Luck!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Chemists and chemical engineers - looking for graduate jobs or internships?

Are you still looking (or just starting looking) for your first graduate job? Or an internship?

Here are a couple of useful pdfs I have recently updated (4 pages each) covering where to look for graduate jobs, internships and summer work in a chemistry or chemical engineering field.

There are sections on academia, industry, renewable sector, getting your own funding, working abroad, employer databases (for applying speculatively) and many other ways to further your career.

If you've not got these, you're honestly missing out, because I have done all the leg work here! I update them get every year. You will need your MyEd login to access them


Chemical Engineering

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Something a bit different - a career in film?

Have you ever had a hankering to do something creative? Perhaps combine the arts with science/engineering or maybe choose a different direction altogether?  Not sure where to start?

This year's Edinburgh International Film Festival  runs from June 20th - July 2nd and has a dedicated youth strand, The Young & the Wild, aimed at people aged 15-25.

They are offering 10 days of free filmmaking masterclasses, workshops, dedicated careers advice sessions and special events designed to help young people gain knowledge and insight into the film industry. Classes such as How to get your foot in the door to Cinematography, Animation, Screenwriting, Documentary-making, Film journalism and much much more. You can go to as many or as few events as you like, so you might be able to fit it in around summer work, travel, or even before starting your first graduate job.

Full programme available @ for more information and to get your £5 pass. There are travel bursaries available to support travel from outside Edinburgh. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Case Study - Entrepreneur/Consultant - EY. (Plus....What IS Blockchain?)

Name - Martin Jeret
Degree - MChem (Hons) Medicinal and Biological Chemistry with a Year Abroad, U of Edinburgh
Year of Graduation - 2017
Martin's Linkedin profile

My Career History
  • Worked 2 summers in the hospitality industry (2012, 2013). Continued this during 2nd Year of university
  • Worked 2 summers in the US as an independent contractor for Southwestern Advantage selling books door-to-door. (2014, 2015). This job and various scholarships is how I paid my way through uni without any loans.
  • My 4th year summer I started my first company – Backpack Chat. This is an app that shows you where your friends are travelling on a map. I made a business case, designed the product and recruited a team of 6 to build the app. It’s available on Android and a scrappy MVP is still on iOS. I did this while simultaneously working at another start-up called Tuleva. Tuleva is a pension collectors union and I joined a team of 4 to raise € 3M in 3 month to start a mutual pension fund that belongs to pension collectors.
  • During my 5th year I also started to build a product in eHealth – a patient health record dashboard for doctors. I designed the product and had a team, but the vision with my business partner didn’t align well and I left the team about 3 or 4 months afterwards. The product was called Patient 3.0.

I was conscripted to the Estonian defence forces after graduation, but managed to avoid it. Since graduation I had to pay my bills and because I couldn’t get recruited by employers (due to the conscription I was avoiding), I started a new business: consulting. I had my first clients and I mostly worked on their products (build and design stuff), business operations and data analytics. I operated under Backpack Chat Ltd and actually did manage to pay my bills!

Recently I joined EY (Ernst & Young) as a consultant and I still offer my services as an independent contractor outside of EY as well.

Where was your EY job advertised? 
I went to a careers fair with 100 CV’s, business cards and an Ipad. I knew beforehand which jobs I was interested in and looked for the recruiters and decision makers at the stalls. I think I left a good impression, got the interviews and picked a job I liked the sound of, having done my background research into the positions on offer.

Which other organisations offer similar roles?
Others in the Big4 (KPMG, Deloitte, PWC), Accenture, McKinsey, Bain etc.

Can you describe what your job entails or a typical week in your job? With your crystal ball, what does the future for your sector/job look like?
  • Go to work at 8 and make some coffee.
  • Work behind a desk on a project, using a wide range of tools/skills for specific task. 
  • Have meeting with the client or team; continue work; have lunch; repeat; the end.
  • The future looks Cool – I get to work on innovative projects in Artificial Intelligence within a legal framework, currently designing coworking platforms for architects …....(like if Google Drive and CAD had a baby), *Blockchain projects. There’s so much interesting stuff happening right now. 

Best/Worst parts of the job
I get to work with talented and smart people / Clients are not always right.

How have you used the skills and knowledge from your degree in your job?
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are very useful. Also, the way you approach big projects like your placement year or final year project. Finally, time management - being able to study for 6 exams worth 120 credits in 2 months is a worth while skill.

Is there anything you wish you had done in your past to make it easier to get where you are today?
Learn programming as fast as you can. Start with Python and build something as soon as you can.

What advice would you give to students wishing to enter your field of work?
Everyone can be smart and criticise. If you have an idea on how we can improve something about our lives/society or whatever, go on and do it, build something, don’t let it sit in the back of your head.
Fail fast and try again and again.

*If you don't know what Blockchain is, here is the simplest example/definition I could find (thanks to Deloitte website): 

You (a "node") have a file of transactions on your computer (a "ledger"). Two government accountants (let's call them "miners") have the same file on theirs (so it’s "distributed"). As you make a transaction, your computer sends an e-mail to each accountant to inform them. Each accountant rushes to be the first to check whether you can afford it (and be paid their salary "Bitcoins"). The first to check and validate hits “REPLY ALL”, attaching their logic for verifying the transaction ("Proof of Work"). If the other accountant agrees, everyone updates their file. This concept is enabled by Blockchain technology. 

The technology is now used beyond cryptocurrency - eg in contracts, music sharing, energy, voting, registries, cloud computing. For further details of other uses of Blockchain - see the Wikipedia entry. 

Each of the Big Four accounting firms is testing Blockchain technologies in various formats. In Switzerland, EY has provided cryptocurrency wallets to all (Swiss) employees, has installed a bitcoin ATM in their office in Switzerland, and accepts bitcoin as payment for all its consulting services.

Sounds like an excellent idea to have a bit of knowledge of Blockchain technology if you are keen to enter the consultancy & finance sectors. There are plenty of MOOCs (massive open online courses) available and free to use. For example, here is one specifically for complete novices with a slant towards the energy industry; - MOOC Blockchain in Energy Industry

Friday, 11 May 2018

De La Rue - Materials scientist wanted

Never heard of De La Rue? - their products are in your pocket as we speak (or you wish they were!)

Established over 200 years ago, De La Rue work with governments, central banks and commercial organisations around the globe in three core areas:

  • Cash Supply Chain, producing banknotes (they helped create the polymer £5 notes from Bank of Scotland that keep bouncing themselves out of my purse)
  • Citizen Identity including passports and identity management
  • Product Authentication protecting brands and fighting counterfeiting.

And they currently have a vacancy in UK for a graduate chemist or chemical engineer. They have worldwide geographical locations and I notice they also have premises in Malta - very nice.

Thanks to my colleague Susan Bird for flagging this up.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

International Students - want to work in the UK after graduation?

Are you an international student coming to the end of your degree?

Do you want to work in the UK after graduation?

I know many of you would love the opportunity to stay on and work here after your degree. This is certainly a possibility, but it does require a fair bit of effort, groundwork and tenacity.

To work in the UK under Tier 2 provision you must be sponsored by an employer listed on the Home Office Register of Sponsors. You can check whether potential employers are already on the existing list which holds over 29,000 employers. However, just because a certain employer has sponsored international graduates in the past, it doesn't mean they would necessarily do it for you now. And just because they're NOT on the list, it doesn't mean they would NOT do it for you now if you are the right candidate. So not the most helpful document on the planet, but it's a place to start!

To qualify for a Tier 2 visa the job you are applying for must to pay at least £20,800, or the new entrant industry minimum, whichever is higher and the role must be graduate level employment, for more details check the Home Office website.

There are other types of visa and Edinburgh Global provides a breakdown of the types that may be available to students after graduating, as well as good information and advice on your situation.

To help you communicate your situation to potential employers, Edinburgh Global has drafted the following paragraph which you can use in job applications:

"I currently hold a Tier 4 visa which allows me to work 20 hours per week during term time, full time during vacation periods, and full time in a temporary position once I have finished my studies. As a Tier 4 visa holder who would make a Tier 2 application inside the UK, I am exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test, and from restricted Certificate of Sponsorship, once I have successfully completed my studies.  I am also exempt from the Migrant Skills Levy. I am permitted to start full-time, permanent employment as soon as I have submitted a Tier 2 visa application.”

Hope this helps to get you started. Note that much of this information has been taken from the Edinburgh Global website. (Careers Service staff are not allowed to give advice on visas).

Friday, 27 April 2018

How to stay motivated when studying

I am sure right now you will be desperately trying to cram a year's academic work into your heads. Finding it tough? How can you stay motivated to study?  

Naturejobs have just published an interactive infographic which suggests we are either Upholders, Questioners, Obligers or Rebels in response to time pressures - which one are you? This is not entirely a waste of time - it does give good tips on how to get/stay motivated.

"What motivates you?" is also a common interview question, so even more reason to find out what makes you tick - Our Career Service blog Inform.ed has a new post on the subject.

Here are my top tips - common sense mostly, but maybe reading them will help you get a bit of focus:

  1. Don’t question your abilities. Don’t put yourself down by comparing yourself to others.
  2. Visualise yourself starting. Make yourself sit down and work even if this is for just 20 minutes. 
  3. Focus on the most important bits of the course (rather than the bits you enjoy most). Avoid multitasking.
  4. Communicate to others what you intend to do. This might help you to commit to a schedule and you could also find out others points of view and tips. 
  5. Ask yourself  ‘how much can I realistically achieve in the next 2 hours?’ instead of the overwhelming ‘Can I get through the entire Chemistry 1 notes tonight?’   
  6. Remember studying SHOULD be challenging otherwise everyone would have a degree.  Focus on the outcome and not the struggle to get there.
  7. Give yourself a treat for every four hours (not necessarily continuous) study. I'm thinking an episode of The Bridge?, Westworld? (new seasons coming soon). A (large) tub of Häagen-Dazs Salted Caramel all to yourself? 8 hours sleep? 5 mile walk?
All the very best for the next few weeks.