All posts by Veronica Benson

02Jun/20

WRIPA SEPnet Joint Embedding Employability Webinar From physics degree to graduate work: developing students’ work mobility and career-ready mindset

Thursday 23 July 2020    09.00 – 13.00
Chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham & supported by Institute of Physics

Employer engagement is key to the way both physics departments and careers & employability services create opportunities for students to develop transferable skills. However, this approach is predicated on students being ‘work mobile’ with a high level of social capital and the awareness to ‘fit’ their degree programme into the context of the world of work.

The current crisis will lead to new ways of working for universities and business and may lead to different opportunities. However, the key factors underpinning physics graduate outcomes remain largely influenced by students’ access to ‘employability capital’, engagement with careers advice and their career decision-making ability.

Representatives from Office for Students, Graduate Prospects, Universities of Keele, Leeds and Sheffield and from AWE, BAE Systems, MeVitae and Ultra share their views on embedding employability skills, graduate recruitment and work mobility in the current environment.

This joint WRIPA & SEPnet webinar is for academics responsible for employability, heads of teaching and learning, industry representatives, careers and employability advisers and anyone with responsibility for developing physics students’ employability skills.

The event is FREE to attend. Places are limited. To book a place, please click here: https://sepnet-wripa-workshop3.eventbrite.co.uk.

12May/20

Where do physics PhD graduates go?

SEPnet’s recent survey of physics PhD graduates revealed that 69% went straight into roles outside academia. Of these 32% went into business technology and 23% found jobs with research organisations.

Physics PhD graduates work in a range of diverse roles and include data scientists, quantitative analysts, R&D scientists, software engineers and patent officers. Organisations recruiting physicists include Babylon Health, Centronic, Ernst & Young, Legal & General, Mindlab, Ocado Technology, Oxford Instruments and Senseye.

We asked recent PhD graduates for their tips and advice for current students. They had 4 key messages:
Focus on skills more than technical experience
Spend time learning to program properly
Seek internships
Contacts and networks are key.

For more information on where physics PhD graduates click here

09Apr/20

Developing Your Employability Skills in the Current Crisis

The impact of Covid-19 has had a huge impact on both businesses and individuals. At SEPnet we are identifying new ways of working with employers to help students continue to gain work experience and build their employability skills.

Employers are working hard to provide summer placements for students where possible and we are exploring options for remote working or deferring projects if necessary so students don’t lose out. We are also working with employers to deliver webinars and online talks and career panel sessions as part of our wider employer engagement programme.

Now is a great time to take advantage of online resources to build skills and knowledge. The IOP has valuable resources for students and researchers: https://www.iop.org/careers/ and there are several organisations offering MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses), many of which are free. These can help build software coding and data science skills and knowledge as well as career development and business skills. Visit https://www.udemy.com/; https://www.coursera.org/; https://makers.tech/ and https://www.futurelearn.com/ for ideas.

24Mar/20

SEPnet Summer Placements 2020 – updated information

Our SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme is still accepting applications from students despite the current situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus.

Applying for placements is a valuable experience for students and enables them to make contact with potential future employers. Employers are invited to interview shortlisted students via Skype or phone. Placements may take place late summer (if offices are open) or may be deferred or carried out remotely.  Employers who have submitted projects will be contacted to at the end of March to discuss their options.

The deadline date for applications is 31 March.

Email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk for further information.

06Mar/20

WISE launch new tool to inspire girls to consider a STEM career!

In recognition of Women’s International Day on 8 March, SEPnet are keen to highlight initiatives to encourage more girls to choose STEM careers. Women are still hugely under-represented at senior levels in these sectors.

WISE have launched a new outreach tool – My Skills My Life – to inspire girls to consider a career in STEM. It is an interactive, online tool that allows girls to find out their personality types and shows them role models with similar personality types working in STEM.

WISE have over 600 role model case studies on the platform, which include information about pathways and brings the role models to life for the girls. The online platform also includes information about companies and the opportunities they have to offer. To try the resource, browse role models or create your own role model profile, please visit www.myskillsmylife.org.uk.

Visit this page to read inspiring case studies about women in a variety of physics-related STEM careers and learn about their challenges, tips and what makes their jobs rewarding.

24Jan/20

SEPnet Summer Placements 2020! Do you have a project/work experience for a physics or maths undergraduate or PhD student?

SEPnet organises over 80 summer placements a year for physics, and now maths, students at the above universities and is seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematical modelling, product design and testing or science communication.

Who can apply?
The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics or maths graduates, or who can offer valuable business experience, including large companies, SMEs, start-ups, research institutions, charities and NGOs.

Benefits to employers
• Early access to bright, numerate students with excellent problem-solving and IT skills
• Enables you to carry out projects you would not normally have time for
• Provides a fresh perspective on your business challenges
• All advertising, administration and placement support is handled by the SEPnet team
• Some funding available for SMEs
If you offer 2 placements, SEPnet can fund the 2nd undergraduate

What employers have said:
‘Very satisfied with the whole process, organised and straightforward, with good students.’
‘We took SEPnet students for the second year running and have been very impressed with the calibre, their capabilities and the general high standard. For your records we have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students…’.

For more information:
Visit http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/students-employers/information-for-employers/. Register your placement project, or projects, online here here by Friday 7 February. Early projects will be prioritised.

20Dec/19

SEPnet Summer Placements 2020! Do you have a project/work experience for a physics or maths undergraduate or PhD student?

SEPnet (South East Physics Network) is a consortium of university physics departments – Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex and the Open University.

The scheme
SEPnet organises over 80 summer placements a year for physics and, now maths, students at the above universities and is seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematical modelling, product design and testing or science communication.

Who can apply?
The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics or maths graduates, or who can offer valuable business experience, including large companies, SMEs, start-ups, research institutions, charities and NGOs.

Benefits to employers
• Early access to bright, numerate students with excellent problem-solving and IT skills
• Enables you to carry out projects you would not normally have time for
• Provides a fresh perspective on your business challenges
• All advertising, administration and placement support is handled by the SEPnet team
• Some funding available for SMEs
• Read our short case studies here

What employers have said:
‘Very satisfied with the whole process, organised and straightforward, with good students.’
‘We took SEPnet students for the second year running and have been very impressed with the calibre, their capabilities and the general high standard. For your records we have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students…’.

For more information visit this page.  Register your placement project, or projects, online here by Friday 7 February. Early projects will be prioritised.

12Dec/19

Building Inclusivity and Bridging the Attainment Gap

SEPnet’s 3rd annual diversity workshop, hosted by Surrey this week, focused on a  range of key issues facing universities today. Professor Averil Macdonald OBE led the day by describing the systemic barriers to attracting female and BAME students to do physics pre-16 and beyond and explained why equality of experience isn’t equality of opportunity. Peter Main, Head of Physics, King’s College London went on to challenge myths about the BAME attainment gap suggesting traditional explanations such as choice of curriculum and unconscious bias in assessment sit uncomfortably with recent data that show that attendance and attainment may be linked.

Alex Johl, Head of Operations for Student Experience and Wellbeing at Birmingham, reflected whether HE is making our students unwell and offered practical solutions for embedding wellbeing into the undergraduate, PGR and staff experience.  Empowering and supporting PhD students was the focus of discussion where ‘imposter syndrome’ can be a real barrier for some students. Noelia Noel in Astrophysics at Surrey suggested we need to change the medical practice approach of ‘I went through this so you should too’ and support students to share concerns about coping as well as giving them the option of leaving academia to pursue other careers without feeling they’ve failed.

Finally, Sally Jordan, Head of School and Josie Fraser, DVC at The Open University, gave practical advice for addressing lack of diversity at the top describing how choice of language in recruitment adverts can discourage women from applying for roles and setting an example to staff by adopting a healthy work life balance is crucial to changing a long hours culture.

05Dec/19

IOP/SEPnet careers panel event for physics students gets very positive feedback!

IOP hosted an inspiring networking event for physics undergraduates and PhD students yesterday. Panellists from Centronic, Deloitte, Equiniti, University of Surrey, Queen Mary University, Santander, NPL, Leonardo, Micron Semiconductor and Science & Technology Facility Council shared their career journeys and offered valuable tips and advice.

Students loved the round-table format as it made networking less ‘scary’ and enjoyed hearing about the diverse range of career options open to them. They learned that it’s possible to move from academia to industry and that developing and recognising your transferable skills is key to success.

#physics #sepnet #iop

29Nov/19

SEPnet STUDENTS’ EXPO 2019 – ANOTHER GREAT SUCCESS!

130 SEPnet students, employers, academics and guests came together this week to celebrate the achievements of 74 students who carried out a short industry and research placement this summer.

Students successfully presented to over 130 fellow students, employers, academics and guests as well as displaying posters of their projects.

In addition to current student presenters, Mahfuj Ali, Senior Associate at Deloitte, talked about his experience as a former SEPnet student and his career journey to date offering advice and tips to current students. Our keynote speaker, Dame Julia Slingo, also gave an inspiring talk about the important role physics plays in meteorology and her career as a meteorologist and former Chief Scientist at the Met Office.

Congratulations to the 6 poster prize winners:
• Stefan Todd of Surrey on placement at Earth-i
• Joe Stickland of Southampton at IS-Instruments
• Gurjeet Kohlon of Queen Mary at Lumi Space
• Emily Mitcheson-Smith of Southampton at NPL
• Marina Arnaudova of Royal Holloway at Hertfordshire
• Molly Burkmar of Portsmouth at Winchester Science Centre.

A call for summer projects for 2020 will go out from December.  Watch this space!