9 May 2014
The third annual SCI Day of Science and Careers event took place on Monday 28 April 2014 in London. Almost 50 people attended to find out about the wide range of careers covered in the chemical, chemical-using and related industries and to network with each other. The day was split into three sessions of presentations and ended with a wine reception.
The first session began with how to start out in both academia and industry and finished with a ten minute question and discussion session before the lunch break.
Lunch was a great opportunity for delegates to network and chat with each other as they discussed what they had learned that morning. Many delegates swapped the pre-prepared business cards, which had been given to them earlier, so that they could keep in contact with each other after the event. The second half of the session continued with an insight into working for both chemical and bioscience SMEs and ended with a presentation from Callie Seaman, of Aqualabs. Callie described what it was like to become a director of a business for the first time, having set up her company a year ago. She described her career path and how she managed to achieve her current position and the knowledge she has gained, stressing the importance of joining a networking organisation such as SCI to forge ahead in business and create vital contacts.
In the second session, we heard from speakers from Innospec, Syngenta and A T Kearney, a management consultancy. Marie Connor (Innospec) told us about managing health and safety in a chemical plant, while Dr Lisa Mitchell (Syngenta) explained what it was like to work for a multi-national agrochemical corporation.
After this we heard from Dr Inna Baigozina-Goreli, who gave her view on life as a consultant to the chemical industries and the type of work a consultant can expect to perform. The session ended with Tim Reynolds chairing a lively half hour of questions, suggestions and discussion, with excellent participation from the audience.
In the third and final session, Dr Cara Tredget, from Shell, talked us through her job in the petrochemicals industry, the projects ( including managing the company's support for Ferrari's F1 team), the areas in which Shell operates and how she achieved her current position.
The final presentation, about how to apply for a first job, was given by Dr David Barkel, from Chemical Search International, an executive recruitment agency for the chemical sector which also offers executive coaching, career development and transition services as well as access to the Chempeople database, which helps those working in chemical or related professions to network with one another.
David explained that the UK chemical industry is large and diverse, so it is important to spend time thinking about which areas interest you and what type of company you want to work for, as well as what you can offer to the employer. He gave advice on structuring and formatting a CV, how to operate a job search - 70% of the job market is non-advertised so being proactive is important - and how to act in an interview (preparation is key).
The day ended with a wine reception, which gave opportunities for further networking and gave delegates a further chance to ask questions and chat with the speakers. We were most impressed with the enthusiasm of the participants and their ideas on what SCI can do to help Early Career People. Representatives from the RSC and Biochemical Society also indicated their interest in working with us on this type of event.
The next Day of Science and Careers event will take place in Spring 2015 and we look forward to welcoming you there!
A selection of the presentations are now online and available to download, please click on the link below.
Emma Thomas, Membership Executive and
Prof Alan Heaton, Chair, Early Careers Support Sub Committee