KTPs – Graduate jobs straddling academia and industry

Thanks to my colleague Deborah Fowlis for this great introduction to KTPs

If you’d like to work for a local company and manage your own projects while earning a competitive graduate salary, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) may be for you.

What are Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
The KTP scheme is one of the UKs largest graduate employment programmes and one of the longest running. It helps business to innovate and grow by providing three-way collaboration between universities, organisations and graduates.

Businesses link up with an academic or research institution, which then help to recruit a suitably qualified graduate, known as a KTP Associate. Employed by the university, the associate then works for the company on strategic projects, helping to improve business performance and increase productivity. As a KTP associate, the type of work you carry out depends on your qualifications and the company that you work for, but as an example, KTP projects could include:

  • reorganising production facilities
  • introducing new technologies to an organisation
  • designing new or improved products, processes or services
  • developing new business strategies and breaking into new markets.

With over 300 job opportunities available every year, the scheme can take from 12 months to three years to complete. Upon completion, around 70% of employers offer associates a full-time job, usually in a management role.

What sectors can I work in?
KTPs are primarily aimed at small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) but companies of all sizes, including not-for-profit organisations in a variety of industries can take part in the programme. You could work a wide range of industries, those particularly of interest to physicists and astronomers are:

  • engineering and manufacturing
  • science and pharmaceuticals
  • environment and agriculture
  • energy and utilities
  • business, consulting and management

What are the benefits of a KTP?

  • experience of managing a challenging, real-life project of vital importance to a business
  • opportunities to gain professional qualifications – often business related
  • a competitive graduate salary, usually in region of £25,000 to £35,000.
  • the possibility of full-time employment at the end of the project
  • access to a budget of £2,000 per year for training, £2,250 for travel and a further £1,500 for necessary equipment.

Am I eligible?
To be eligible for the KTP scheme graduates need a 2:1 Bachelors degree in a relevant subject or a Masters or PhD. You’ll also need the right to work in the UK.

To find vacancies online head to Innovate UK. Here you’ll be able to register your interest in the programme, create a profile so recruiters can find you and search current vacancies.

 

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Rockstar North: Physics Programmer

Rockstar North is on the lookout for a talented Physics Programmer who possess a passion for developing cutting-edge physics and collision systems, using them in creative and novel ways.

They support the design, AI and gameplay teams to be able to use the physics systems in order to create novel new mission, AI and gameplay mechanics.

This is a full-time permanent position based out of Rockstar’s unique game development studio in the heart of Edinburgh.

More here

Large grad scheme not for you? Suss out the alternatives – small can be beautiful!

I realise not everyone wants to work for a large recruiter via a graduate scheme yet sometimes it may feel like that is the only thing out there. They do tend to have lots of money to spend on marketing and recruitment so their profile is high. However, would it surprise you to know that only 15% of graduates go onto graduate schemes? Far greater numbers go on to work for smaller or medium-sized enterprises/organisations (SMEs) of up to 250 staff, often much fewer where there can be huge benefits including:

– Quicker selection process, usually just CV and cover letter, interview (no online tests!)
– Quicker timeline from application to start date (they tend to recruit as the work and projects demand)
– Less hierarchical work environment – contact with senior management
– More responsibility – more quickly
– Work across multiple projects
– Access to network for future career opportunities
– Employ lots of recent graduates
– Learn great skills

They just recruit very differently and may not have the time or resources to come to careers fairs or invest in recruitment marketing.  Often they use partners to help them recruit, especially if they are smaller start-ups who need talented graduates for interesting projects but don’t have an HR or recruitment team to do this.

I was aware today following our session on “No idea for your career”  that you may might not be aware of some of the graduate internship partner initiatives that are available where there are paid jobs with SMEs.  I have listed some below

If you are uncertain yet about career direction, or want to build up some valuable experience, these initiatives are a great idea to consider as a “stepping stone”.

Most work with SMEs and offer a great “first job” experience that could lead to a longer-term post with them or give you greater confidence and experience to apply for the next thing – which might be a graduate scheme or a different/similar role within another SME or in the public sector – or set up your own SME!

1) Employ.ed in an SME offers 4-10 week full time or part time internships within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and is run by the Careers Service working with many SMEs, including tech start-ups. Benefits include having a varied role, lots of responsibility and often working alongside the founders of the company.

All opportunities are advertised throughout the year on MyCareerHub. Search MyCareerHub opportunities for ‘Employ.ed in an SME’ Roles are open to all final year undergraduates, postgraduate students or recent graduates from the University of Edinburgh (2 years after graduation)

Employ.ed in an SME

2) ScotGrad

Graduate placements through ScotGrad are designed to give you that first piece of graduate-level work experience. Placements can be 6 -12 months with one of Scotland’s growing organisations you’ll gain valuable experience working on a defined project, where you will make a significant impact on a small or medium-sized organisation. Science engineering and tech roles can be really well-paid too, far more than their minimum . Placements are advertised via MyCareerHub too and are available across a range of sectors, including:

Food and Drink
Science and Environment
Energy (Oil & Gas, Renewables)
Creative Industries
Travel and Tourism
IT/Enabling Technology
Construction and Forest Industries
Textiles
ScotGrad

3) Bright Green Business offers exciting opportunities for students and recent graduates to work with companies and organisations across Scotland. Their aim is to offer meaningful project-based placements to ensure that you are not only gaining credible work experience but that you are also able to have ownership of the work you produce. The placements are paid, run all year round and tend to be short-term ranging from 8 to 12 weeks. Roles range from environmental management, active travel, science & engineering to marketing & communication

​Bright Green

4) The Step Programme offers undergraduates and recent graduates a range of work experience opportunities. These can be either short term work placements, generally lasting between eight weeks and six months or longer term internships lasting between six and 12 months. All opportunities have a genuine development focus, are structured, project based and are all paid.

STEP

5) Adopt an intern

Find out more about ​Adopt an Intern

There are other ways to get a foot in the door in an SME so if there is a sector you are interested in come and get some advice from us.

From physics to petrochemical industry

IneosOlivia Steele studied Physics at the University of Edinburgh, but her role is open to chemistry and chemical engineering graduates.

Degree Subject

Masters of Physics with Honours Astrophysics, U of Edinburgh, graduated July 2015.

Brief career history, including current job title & employer

I started working for INEOS as a commercial graduate in Cologne, September 2015. I was out there for almost two years and had two roles in that time: ethylene operator and polymers performance analyst. From May of last year, I have been Assistant Product Manager for INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe, based in Grangemouth.

Where was your current job was advertised/how did you find it, what was the appeal, what attributes were the organisation looking for?

I met INEOS at the Edinburgh University Careers fair and so applied online. I was keen to start a new challenge and the commercial graduate scheme was a perfect fit. It appealed to me because INEOS wanted graduates who studied a STEM subject, even for the commercial roles. They appreciated the analytical/numerical skills and problem solving I had learned through university.

Which other organisations offer similar roles?

Most other petrochemical companies offer similar roles, however with INEOS you are given real responsibilities from day one. The company offer lots of support and give you space to expand your role with time.

Can you describe what your job entails or a typical week in your job? With your crystal ball, what does the future for your sector/job look like?

I am responsible for the day-to-day planning of all our chemical products we make on site. This means working with our customers and consumers, the shipping team, different assets and taking part in many cross-optimisation conversations. The future for my current role looks exciting – I am beginning to learn more about cracker economics, getting involved in market analysis and taking part in some long-term projects.

Best/Worst parts of the job

Best part of the job is that every day is different (not a cliché!) and I get to interact with various teams both on site here in Grangemouth and abroad. Worst part of the job is that I have to deal with unforeseen complications – but only sometimes!

How have you used the skills and knowledge from your degree in your job?

Creative problem solving helps when dealing with certain issues and analytical thinking is needed not only for day-to-day planning discussions but also to work out the most cost effective solution in a time-pressured environment.

What extra-curricular experience (eg work experience, volunteering, societies, sports, interests etc) do you believe helped you get where you are today?

I have had a range of different types of work experience – as a shop assistant, a waitress, a summer research student at the observatory and as a research assistant for a company who make sports equipment in Austria – these were all great opportunities to learn about different techniques, improve communication skills and develop customer relations. Being involved in societies and sports also helps with organisational skills and working with different types of people.
Is there anything you wish you HAD done in your past to make it easier to get where you are today?

Perhaps taken some more chemistry modules at university…it’s been a bit of a learning curve!

What advice would you give to students wishing to enter your field of work?

The petrochemical industry is fast paced – make sure you are ready for a challenge, it won’t disappoint!

From Physics grad to EY consultant

Huge thanks to Gemma King, physics graduate, for this insightful post on how she uses the skills gained from her degree and extra-curricular activity in her current role.

Despite loving studying Physics at University I determined fairly early on I wasn’t destined for a career in academia.  During my degree I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study Technology and Innovation Management, and it was this class that attracted me to business and the opportunities to transfer my scientific skills to this setting.  Engaging with my University’s Careers Service, I attended presentations run by professional services organisations and industry focussed companies to gain an understanding of the potential roles I would be suited to.

Consulting really stood out to me as a career route due to the need for a diverse skill-set and the emphasis on continuous learning, whilst enthusiastic presentations from EY attracted me to the company, coupled with its focus on people and development.  I was therefore delighted to join EY as a Performance Improvement Consultant in March 2017.

Whilst in my day-to-day role I’m not applying my technical Physics knowledge, I do rely on a number of the skills that I developed in my degree: a methodical approach to data, being able to systematically analyse that data and draw key conclusions, as well as the ability to succinctly convey these results to the wider team.

Positively, I’ve also been able to draw on the skills I developed through extra-curricular activities.  Serving as a Class Representative and President of the Grad Ball Committee gave me a great opportunity to work as part of diverse teams allowing me to develop my communication skills as well reinforcing managing tasks whilst working toward a common goal.

Gaining professional experience was also a valuable learning opportunity.  Between my penultimate and final year of University I undertook an internship in banking which allowed me to consider where I would like to focus my professional career.

Studying Physics has allowed me develop numerous transferable skills that have strongly supported me so far in my professional career.  Reflecting back on my own final years at University, I believe the most valuable advice I received that I would pass on is to engage with individuals working in the field you’re interested in, seek out opportunities to learn more and broaden your skill-set, and definitely do not see your Physics degree as a limitation to success in business.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Lots of things?

If you’re not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. In this great TED talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites” — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one? The benefits of this “wiring” include idea synthesis & innovation, rapid learning & adaptability.

Brilliant examples help you understand at it’s not only OK to be keen on lots of things – but actually can be a huge advantage.  Combing specialists with multipotentialites creates great teams, for example. Listen to what she says – I think I just realised I am one!

Here are some more talks if you don’t know what to do with your life! TED talks

Showcasing opportunities for Women in Physics

In March 2016, six undergraduate students from the College of Science & Engineering attended the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held at the University of Oxford. Now in its second year, the Conference aims to help undergraduate women continue in physics by showcasing options for their educational and professional futures. Find out more – and 3rd year physicist Emma Stam telling us about her experience here.

Open to graduate options?

Scotgrad logo

Science, environment, technology, food & drink, travel & creative industries…there are some interesting graduate placements available in Scotland at the moment through the Scotgrad Graduate Placements programme…and new ones go on all the time.

Since 2010, over 1000 graduates from 23 different countries have already made their mark with various projects across Scotland. Many of these led to permanent jobs and 75% of graduates on the programme go on to graduate level employment after their placement.

Follow them on Facebook to find out more