Careers advisor from the RSC answers your questions

As part of our “How to build a career in the chemical industry” webinar we have had some follow up questions from the audience and also pre submitted questions that we did not have enough time to answer on the day. In order to answer these questions, we will publish written answers to these questions from the different panel members over the next couple of weeks.

Charlotte Ashley-Roberts a Careers Consultant at the Royal Society of Chemistry has provided us with very informative answers to your questions:

I‘m a graduate of Industrial Chemistry. I started my career in the lubricant industry and I have over 4 years experience in this field. I need to further my education to boost my career and I can’t seem to find any post graduate course in my field. What advice do you have for me?

I would say that further education is unlikely to help in most cases. If the roles you are applying for specifically ask for a qualification you don’t have then it might be worth pursuing but this isn’t normally the case. I would advise that you have your application checked by an experienced professional as it is more likely you aren’t selling your skills well enough. If you do decide to go for a postgraduate course then it doesn’t always matter if it’s not in the ‘right’ field – choose one which interests you.

I work in Nigeria and my family is in UK. I had my PhD in the UK. I have been looking for job in the UK both as a lecturer/research assistant or postdoc and in the industry as an Analytical/Environmental chemist but have not been able to get one mainly because I don’t have UK working experience. Please what can I do to be considered for a job in the UK. I do not have visa problem and I will be grateful for any advise.

I would speak to your network already based in the UK in academia as they will be best placed to answer your question. I would also look at www.vitae.ac.uk which gives information on how to apply (and what to include) for academic applications. There are 4 main things they will look for: teaching experience, independent research, publications and revenue generation. It may be that interviewing you when you are abroad is tricky? Finally, I would say that it is an extremely competitive environment so it may just be a matter of time.

How can we ensure that employers are not losing valuable skilled potential employees trying to return to a more-flexible employment situation after extended parental leave?

Wow, that’s a big question, one I don’t have a solution for I am afraid. I am not sure we can, it will come down to the employer and their strategy, flexibility and willingness to employ parents. Many employers allow flexible working and there are laws in place to support parents at work. I think we need to ensure they see that parents bring value to the workplace and we (as parents) have some responsibility to demonstrate our skills to the employer too.

What maximum age is considered for a job in a chemical industry?

There is no maximum age, age discrimination is illegal in the UK and you are allowed to work until you don’t want to. We don’t see any problems at any age (in my experience).

If you would like to watch the webinar click here

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Are you registered for ChemCareers? It starts today!

The online chemistry careers fair run by the Royal Society of Chemistry, ChemCareers, kicked off today and CK Science are exhibiting!

So, if you are looking for a new position in Chemistry, we would highly recommend that you register for this free event. By registering you will have the opportunity to:

  • Discover the huge range of career opportunities available to chemical scientists
  • Learn how to market yourself to employers in job applications and interviews
  • Seek expert advice on career planning and making your next career move
  • Investigate further study options
  • Network with scientists around the globe

By visiting the CK Science profile at ChemCareers you will be able to find out more about us and how we can help you find your perfect job in Chemistry. Our current Chemistry jobs include:

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Teesside's Renewable Energy Renaissance

The Financial Times has reported that Teesside is becoming a hotbed for renewable energy investment, with around thirty low carbon investments.

These investments are set to be added to, with various proposals set to be implemented. They range from an anaerobic energy research plant to a processing plant for over 400,000 tonnes of household waste to a £200 million advanced gasification plant for the new energy and technology plant near Billingham. These will all create jobs and investment.

Another proposed scheme is the Tenergis project, which will process crude oil and produce diesel, kerosene and hydrogen. The North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) estimates over 50 million metric tonnes of waste is produced annually, with over three quarters being recyclable. NEPIC believes the government should review its policies on industry and energy to protect the UK’s industrial base from carbon taxation. The hesitancy has left projects such as a £500 million biomass plant on hold in the area.

Looking for a job in the science industry? Start by clicking here, now

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GSK to Create 1,000 UK Jobs

GlaxoSmithKline intends to make a £500 million investment into one of four UK sites, reports the Montrose Review.

The investment is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs in one of four UK plants, with Montrose thought to be the front runner due to the recent movement of biomanufacturing of several products from India to the Montrose plant. The Montrose factory also manufactures the products needed to make products that GSK inherited following its acquisition of Steifel in 2009.

Andrew Witty, GSK chief executive, praised the 280 staff at the Montrose factory for turning around what was an ailing site, up for sale at the turn of the Millennium, into a “globally competitive” production plant.

Looking for a job in the science industry? Start by clicking here, now

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Could coffee waste be turned into drugs?

As reported by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Scientists working at the University of Iowa have recentrly discovered a new bacterium which feeds on caffeine. They are hopeful that it could be used to decaffeinate coffee waste to used as a feedstock for biofuel production.

It is hoped that the research could have many practical applications. Nick Turner, a biotechnolgist from the University of Manchester stated,  ‘The specificity of each N-demethylase for a different methyl group is a beautiful example of how enzymes are able to catalyse selective transformations on their substrates, and something that would be very difficult to emulate using traditional chemical processes. The ability to convert caffeine…into higher value products could be attractive to the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries, who are increasingly interested in new low-cost biotechnologies for the manufacture of their products.’ 

It is also thought that biodecaffeination is another potential practical application, as explained by Turner, ‘If we could decaffeinate coffee waste, millions of tons of which is produced every year, it might be useful as a fermentation feedstock to make ethanol as a biofuel. The waste could also be turned into animal feed in this way.’ 

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