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It's all a bit chicken and egg, getting experience I mean. As you move into your chosen career you are likely to come up with the words ' I'm sorry, you just missed out, the other candidate had a bit more experience' or something similar. In an ideal world you would have some experience before embarking on your new job, but how do you get experience without a job, and how do you get a job without experience? See what I mean? It's a chicken and egg scenario.

As I talk to people, particularly students, internships are becoming increasingly important and part of the 'getting experience' strategy. But how do you find them? Finding internships in the UK is fairly straightforward, a quick search on the internet brings up these options (in no particular order):

1. Employment for students (Summer)
2. Internship UK
3. Student Job
4. Internwise
5. Internships UK

But what if you want something more chemistry related? If you are looking for postions in publishing or as a science writer, look no further than the Royal Society of Chemistry. We have two summer internship postions which you can find by clicking on the links.

For lab based internships I would suggest trying jobsites such as Indeed, student specific sites such as milkround
or on specific websites/institutions/companies you are interested in such as The Wellcome Trust or GSK

A couple of words of caution - some internships can be unpaid, make sure you check what is on offer before you sign on the dotted line. Very short unpaid internships can be useful but make sure that you are fully aware of what you will need financially before you agree.
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Apr 14, 2014 11:51 AM GMT
Applications are now open for our intern placements over the summer months. We currently have two opportunities open to applications. 
The first is as a Publishing Intern working in our Editorial Production department. This opportunity allows you to gain an insight into the full Publishing process from initial submission to final publication. This role in particular will focus on the publication process post acceptance, specifically applying author corrections and committing the article for publication. We have up to six placements available. For more information on the role and the application process please click here
The second position is as a Science Writer. You will gain experience working for two of our publications: Chemistry World and Education in Chemistry. This eight week position, supported by the Marriott Bequest Trust, will provide a hands-on introduction to the complete editorial process from writing and editing to page layout and printing. For more information on this role and the application process please click here
Both positions offer an opportunity to gain some invaluable experience over the summer months.
If you are currently studying science, eligible to work in the U.K and have an interest in scientific publishing and the Royal Society of Chemistry apply now!
Posted by Julie Franklin on Apr 11, 2014 9:00 AM GMT
As a member you're entitled to free confidential careers advice but what does this mean for you? Over the next few weeks I shall give you some scenarios. Today we look at networking.

With 30% of all jobs (regardless of sector, experience or qualifications) increasing to 80% of jobs in the graduate/professional sectors being filled through networking, it's clearly an option worth looking at.

Ah, but what about the fact all jobs have to be advertised I hear you cry. Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that an even if a job is advertised there may already be someone lined up, a recommendation in place for someone else or someone may know someone who knows someone....

So, how do you go about networking? If you take the general populous then ~12% never network, 12% network naturally without even thinking about it and that leaves everyone else.

Although you can use social media, for the purpose of this post I will concentrate on face to face networking since you remember these encounters longer than you remember an online interaction. Most people think of networking as a boring evening event where you swap business cards and go home, thinking no more about it. What if there was another way?

I went to a masterclass with career strategist John Lees who suggested the following:

1. Start with people you know: friends and family
2. Don't ask for a job, ask about them: how they got there, what they do, what the company does, ask about entry routes and ask where to find out more - in other words research!
3. Follow up with a thank you and ask them for three names to find out more and get an introduction, even if it's a quick email.

John calls this networking for softies, because most of us are softies when it comes to networking.
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Apr 7, 2014 2:24 PM GMT
We interact with people all of the time, both in person and online. It's one of my favourite things, I love talking to people and finding out more about them. Although my preferred method is to interact in person, through consultations or at an event I also like to interact online. Some folks even call it networking (!)

What are the benefits? Well, just like interactions face to face, interacting with others online can help you find out more about a person, sharing in common ground, supporting each other to reach goals or take a step in a new direction. It can help you find out information, for example, about a new career area you might be interested in or make a contact in a new area.

So how can you interact with us?
Other than getting in touch via email, phone or during an event you can also find us online and we love you to interact with us. I write this blog and am the main tweeter on our twitter account @CareersRSC . You can also interact with us via LinkedIn through the RSC group where we will be sharing information, asking questions and answering yours....All we need you to do is to comment, share, follow or get involved
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Apr 1, 2014 8:40 PM GMT
People often ask me about what the future of chemistry is, what kind of jobs will exist? It's difficult, if not impossible to predict the answer to the question but there has recently been a piece of research: The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030.

UKCES have researched the job market of the future and has come up with 4 main possiblities:

1. Forced Flexibility - greater flexibility and moderate innovation
2.The Great Divide - high tech industries
3. Skills Activism - technological innovation
4. Innovation Adaptation - implementation of ICT solutions

The paper explores the financial. technological and political effects on the UK. It makes an interesting read.

Of course one can never predict the future accurately but the landscape is likely to be different and it opens up a lot of questions. Will we use new and emerging technologies to increase productivity and efficiency?, what will happen to the workforce?, how will we learn?

What we can be sure of is that we are likely to use more technology, and combine it with other things, like has already happened with biometrics. Will there be a role for chemists? Of course, perhaps not in the same ways as now but using our logical, problem solving and data skills may become even more important.
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Mar 27, 2014 9:44 PM GMT

Politics is a hot topic no matter what the weather is doing and it's one which many of you are interested in. The main route into the civil service for PhDs is through the fast stream graduate programme but what if it's not for you? Well, what if I said you could take a shorter position, say three months, to work in a Government department and see if it's for you? What if I also said it would be in a department which would use your scientific knowledge? Sound too good to be true? I have good news.

It's that time of year again where the Royal Society of Chemistry's Westminster Fellowship is open for applications.

I have even better news - we will give you a bursary of £5000.

What's stopping you? Get your application in!
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Mar 17, 2014 10:37 AM GMT
Are you a student? Are you interested in China? If the answer to both of those questions is yes then the British Council are running an event for you: British Council 2014 UK-China Student Forum.

The Forum is looking for UK students with a global outlook to join Chinese students in Beijing to voice opinions on issues related to education, employment and global citizenship. Through group discussions, workshops, keynote presentations and wrap-around activities, participants will exchange views with eight Chinese student counterparts and will conclude with a live discussion on 22 April 2014 at a university location in Beijing.

There will be places for eight lucky students and all you have to do is answer the question: How can our education better prepare us to compete in an increasingly globalised world? in no more than 500 words. Then:

  • Email your response to: with ‘UK-China Student Forum’ in the subject line.
  • Please include your: full name, email address, university and degree course
  • Please attach a copy of your CV
  • Deadline: 23 March 2014


You must be:

  • a UK university student (British passport holders only, including Irish passport holders for Northern Ireland domiciled);
  • aged 18 and above
  • able to travel to China during 19 – 24 April

The British Council will cover all costs related to the trip, including return flights and accommodation.

Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Mar 10, 2014 10:54 AM GMT
We are halfway through National Apprenticeship Week, an event which is now in its seventh year which focuses on creating awareness and interest in apprenticeships. Since 2010 1.6 million apprenticeships have been created and according to new research conducted by ICM, almost half (44%) of businesses in the country plan to take on apprentices in the next five years. This compares to 36% employers when asked the same question this time last year.

The study of 600 businesses reports that one fifth of SMEs plan to take on one or more apprentice in the next 12 months alone, with more than a third (37%) of larger businesses planning to do likewise, compared to 15% and 28% respectively in February 2013. In addition, around a third of those companies who plan to take on apprentices say this it is because they are a core part of their growth strategy.

The study also shows how Apprenticeships are growing in popularity. In fact, 43% of employers agree they would be more likely to offer an Apprenticeship than they were two years ago. Of these, nearly two in five said this was because the talent pool had widened as Apprenticeships become more popular, 33% because it had become easier to employ apprentices and 32% because they have more job roles in their business that would suit an apprentice. Overall, 41% of employers agreed that apprentices stay in the business longer than other recruits.

Furthermore, it would appear Apprenticeships are now filtering into supply chain selection criteria. Nearly one in five SMEs and over a third of larger organisations say they have been questioned by clients or prospects about their apprentice recruitment policies.

This finding is mirrored in a supplementary study amongst some of the companies featured in the latest City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers List. Key findings from the bosses surveyed include:

  • 93% advocate apprentice recruitment through their supply chain
  • 78% say they would be more likely to choose a supplier or partner if they too offered Apprenticeships, with 18% of these saying apprentice recruitment is already part of their selection criteria


Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Mar 5, 2014 9:10 AM GMT
So I have just read an interesting article in the Guardian which discusses how generation Y (usually defined as people born between 1980-2000) are looking for more than 'just' salary but are looking for job fulfilment.

Now I am not suggesting that salary isn't important, of course you should be paid what you are worth, however, you may also be driven by something more. You might want to work for a company which gives something back. Social enterprises are businesses which tackle social problems, improve communities or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. 

Social enterprise companies operate across a wealth of sectors including 8% in healthcare and 8% in environmental sectors, there are chemistry companies who fit the bill. From Dow Chemical Company to Bruker who provided equipment for our Spectroscopy in a Suitcase programme. Even if a company can't be wholly defined as a social enterprise, many have corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.

You can read more about Social Enterprise here in the 2013 report carried out by Social Enterprise UK.
Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Feb 24, 2014 11:58 AM GMT
This is a call to action for all of you who are already working...We are looking for speakers to come along to local events and talk about your career so far. I want to show that careers are not always linear and that they can take some interesting and often unexpected twists and turns. The series is called Profiles in Chemistry

What do you have to do? Just talk for anywhere between 30-45 mins about your career and/or your role/company/institution. The audience is usually around 20 people and there is a networking evening with food and drink afterwards.

Interested? Send your name and location to and I will give you more information. We are looking for speakers in the following places:

Posted by Charlotte Ashley-Roberts on Feb 19, 2014 3:55 PM GMT
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