Archives for posts with tag: employability

‘I’ve stopped watching the news’ said my friend.

I was appalled! I always watch the news on a daily basis to catch up with what is going on in the world, otherwise I feel out of touch. As I’m in a weekly quiz team I also feel the need to keep my general knowledge up to date, knowing about all the latest movie releases, chart music, TV shows and celebrity gossip can come in handy, honest! Read the rest of this entry »

With the sunshine seemingly over and autumnal nights closing in, I’ve been reflecting on development events which took place over the summer and in particular the success of the Think Ahead: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Scheme (Think Ahead: SURE).  33 summer research projects took place over a 6-8 week period in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health and the Faculty of Science, with undergraduate students gaining valuable research experience to set them up for the final year of their studies and, in some cases, to support applications for further study.  Read the rest of this entry »

value.pngThis is a call for all University of Sheffield Doctoral students who would like to give an opinion on whether their doctorate was worth it – what is the value of a PhD, to you personally, and in the job market? Billy Bryan (PhD student in Medical Education) and I are running a research survey where you can give you thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

As I was reading through the usual array of feedback, I began to wonder as always, if everyone attended the same course. As usual the responses ranged from it being a waste of time to finding it a highly enlightening experience.

Fortunately the majority found the opportunity to meet with others from different backgrounds and  rblog 1esearch areas helpful, productive and beneficial, enjoyable.

The stimulating discussions changed their way of thinking, provided views they had previously not considered and made them think differently or even changed their opinion. (Their words not mine.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy New Year

I wanted to start my first blog of 2016 by reflecting on how many times I have told researchers that they possess a very marketable commodity (if you will excuse my use of a business phrase), and how companies outside academia who employ PhDs value your specialist knowledge, research skills and problem solving ability. 

Read the rest of this entry »

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has just launched Bridging the skills gap in the biopharmaceutical industry; maintaining the UK’s leading position in life sciences, which is an update of its 2008 report on the skills sought by employers in the UK’s pharmaceutical industry.

One piece of good news from the report is that demand for people with a PhD has increased within the industry since 2008.

In particular, the report highlights a number of scientific/technical fields in which firms are having difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified people. Most of these involve the application of mathematical and computing skills (e.g. bioinformatics, health economics, health informatics, statistics). So, if you have expertise in one of these areas, now is a good time to look out for opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector

However, the report states that

~90% of respondents had found it difficult to recruit people with adequate communication and team-working skills.

In 2008 only about 70% of respondents had reported difficulties in relation to these skills. For researchers this underlines once again the importance of being able to identify the key transferable skills gained from carrying out research and being able to provide evidence of these in applications and at interview. Although this report focuses on the pharmaceutical industry, the same goes when applying to employers in any other industry.

If you haven’t yet started to think systematically about these things, two useful starting points could be VITAE’s publication The career-wise researcher and AgCAS’s University researchers and the job market. Both publications explain in depth what employers mean when they talk about particular skills and show how you can draw effectively on your experience as a researcher to provide evidence for these.

The full ABI report can be downloaded here.

In September I attended the 1st Researcher Education & Development Conference at Halifax Hall. We focused on how we could support researcher development, which is no small task when you consider the expansive Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) ,that identifies 63 possible areas. Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve just finished your conference presentation and breathe a sigh of relief.

resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-no-please-i-would-much-rather-stand-here-answering-questions-than-be-at-home-ddadf5 Well done, you made it through to the end without anything going wrong.
Then you realise the worst of it isn’t over.
You say those fateful two words “any questions?”
You can’t breathe and time seems to stand still, as you wait for people so start asking the most awkward questions ever, with the joint aim of showing off how good they are and making you feel stupid. Read the rest of this entry »

Ernst and Young, the multinational accountancy and professional services firm, attracted a lot of media attention recently when it announced that it would no longer require applicants to have a 2:1 degree and the equivalent of three B grades at A level in order to be considered for its graduate programmes.

If you’re a postgraduate researcher or a recent doctoral graduate and you’re thinking about applying for graduate entry schemes you might be wondering what relevance this news has for you. Surely if you have a PhD it can’t really matter what class of bachelor’s degree you got, let alone how well you did at A Level? Unfortunately, in a great many cases it does still matter simply because the forms for these high throughput application processes aren’t flexible enough to deal with PhD graduates. 

Read the rest of this entry »

I have a dog and he has a few less than desirable traits, barking at other dogs and generally making a complete show of me are the highlights. We go to ‘Naughty Dog School’ (not its real name) to try and help him and, let’s face it, me, to resolve his problems. The other week I took the pooch off for a walk with Rachel, one of the trainers, and she and I got to talking about her route into dog training. She told me that after she rescued her ‘Naughty Dog’, she sought help with its behavioural issues, attended the training sessions and it turned out she was quite good at it. Her trainer, obviously identifying her ability, suggested that she start to assist him during his classes. She loved training the dogs so much more than the job she had taken after leaving college and now, after putting in some hard work and long hours, she does it full time. She gets to work with animals, work outside and be her own boss – it ticks all the boxes in her dream career and she’s never been happier. Read the rest of this entry »