Gain work experience
Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.
You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration, you could research the many organisations offering summer internships, notably GSK, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Many students also find their own paid or voluntary placements by making speculative applications to companies that interest them. In the past Plymouth chemistry students have been successful in securing paid summer research placements abroad through the IAESTE scheme
The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.
Tutor and academic support
Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so definitely approach them for advice and insights into the careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.
Clubs and societies
Playing sport or being part of a society shows employers you are engaged and can seek out opportunities. It also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion
You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to chemistry such asChemSoc or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.