Applying to the Met office?

We got some great feedback from a student who recently attended an assessment centre at the Met Office as part of their recruitment process. She came to us for some advice prior to her interview. Here is what she reported back:

“I was pretty nervous on my way down but I didn’t really need to be. Everyone down there was super nice and friendly. We got shown around the building and got to see where all of our forecasts come from, which was very interesting.

The assessment

The assessment (1 hour) was nowhere near the level I’d been working at throughout university. The questions were on easy topics which made the assessment more an exercise in remembering how to do the easy things rather than pushing our limits. So I would advise an applicant should go over their schoolwork (Higher maths and physics) before heading down.

The interview

The interview (30 minutes) was less scary than I was expecting. There were only two interviewers, as they said that intimidating people isn’t the best way to let them get their information across.

You were right to say for me to check the weather. The first question that I was asked was “So how do you keep up-to-date with the weather on a day-to-day basis?”, which I responded with “Well, I probably look out of the window a little too often”. I doubt that many people are successful in an interview with that as their opening line, but instead of being told to leave, I was met by big smiles and being told that I will fit in really well (as that’s how the best forecasts start).

They then asked for a  three day forecast for Exeter (or back in Edinburgh). After the weather questions most of the questions were about working in teams and customer service. I didn’t find these quite so easy, but they were kind and helped me to the right answers if I didn’t hit the nail on the head first time. I left the interview thinking that it went well, and so did all the other applicants.

The outcome

I fully didn’t expect to be given an offer, thinking that it would be great assessment day experience and fun to go on a bit of an adventure, so it came as quite a shock when I got the call through to say that I had a job. Thank you very much for your time and help at our meeting. I hope that what I have said might be of some use to future applicants to the Met Office.

European Space Agency

Are you in your MPhys year? If so, then you can apply to ESA as a ‘Young Graduate Trainee’ (YGT). This high-calibre programme lasts for one year and gives successful applicants an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the development and operation of space missions.

There is still time to apply to ESA for their Young Graduate Trainee posts (closing date mid-December 2019)

Stella, an astrophysicist from Estonia, shares her experience as a YGT at ESA working with data provided by the Gaia mission’s team to model the movements of stars.

http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/ESA_Young_Graduate_Trainees_share_their_experience_in_videos

The art in physics

Nicolas Angelides didn’t intend to be a physicist. It was art that first captured his attention. These days, however, he sees very little distinction between the two disciplines.

One of the reasons I chose London for my Ph.D. is because I am in the center of it all. In a collaboration with students from the Royal College of Art in London, an exhibition was put together, highlighting the beauty of topics in physics. I worked on a piece in that collection that was called Instance. I’ve also given loads of talks. It’s really where we allow physics to be the inspiration for other things that I’ve had the most fun, like the exhibition or outreach events.

Find out more about his values and motivations here

Physics to graduate propulsion engineer at Skyrora

Nicola Walker, graduate propulsion engineer at Skyrora tells us about her role. Skyrora will be on campus at the Careers in Engineering Fair on 30th October

I studied at the University of Glasgow, where I completed an integrated Masters degree in Physics with Astrophysics. While my degree did have a focus on space, it was not based on practical industry applications and was almost entirely theory based. This made it difficult to work out exactly what roles I was qualified for when I first graduated, as I believed I was not adequately prepared for a lot of the hands-on roles I was interested in compared to the many engineers out there.

I was not originally set on being an engineer. From studying astronomy subjects at university, I knew that I had a keen interest in space and the many developments ongoing in the industry. At first, I assumed I would pursue a career in academia, studying astronomy in more detail and eventually becoming a researcher full-time. However, I was slightly hesitant over starting a PhD at the time, feeling like I was going through the motions more than really wanting to pursue one.

I left university not having a real idea what to do, or what kind of job I wanted. I just knew that I would prefer to be working in the space industry, as other industry areas just didn’t feel as exciting or as applicable to my degree. I got incredibly lucky while searching for space related jobs a month after I graduated, finding a Junior Engineer position at Skyrora on a Scottish space sector website.

As a graduate propulsion engineer at a start-up, my responsibilities have varied widely since I started. If there is an engineering project ongoing, you can expect to contribute to it to some degree even if it’s not directly in your department. Currently, I am designing a pressure test chamber that we can use onsite as part of our engine tests. It involves setting out a project outline, detailing the requirements and scope of the project, and ensuring that it will withstand any eventualities that can occur during pressure testing. I have also been heavily involved in purchasing, trying to bring costs down for expensive projects while maintaining inventories of all incoming and outgoing items. Working for the start-up means that you have a range of responsibilities and have direct input in ongoing projects.

Your School needs YOU!

I highlighted recently at UG inductions the success that School of Physics & Astronomy students have had in the IBM Universities Business Challenge over the last three years.  Our team Maxwell’s Angels came 4th last year out of more than 300 UK university teams, most of whom were from university business schools. It would be great to repeat that success.

  • It’s the world’s longest established simulation-based competition designed to develop undergraduate employability and enterprise skills.
  • It’s an analytical, problem-solving series of challenges where teams from across UK compete to get to the final in London (the School paid travel and accommodation expenses).
  • I match you up with an industry mentor (I have three lined up already including one from DataLab)
  • it’s a great experience for your CV and a chance to develop personally and professionally. More details here
  • It’s open to undergraduate students from years 2 – 5.  You can have a mixed-year group if you want
  • I need 5 in each team, ideally all from physics and astronomy, but if there is a friend or flatmate you want to have in your team, we can have one non-SoPA student in the team.
  • Please submit details of your team members (name, matric number, year of study) and a nominated team leader (purely for administrative purposes) and email to me susan.bird@ed.ac.uk
  • If you don’t have a full team, just submit your details (name, matric number, year of study) and I will put a composite group together

I would like to have teams finalised ASAP so I can submit before the deadline on Mon 14 Oct. I will be in touch to let you know if you have been successful this year.

Roles in the NHS in Scotland

At a recent “Working in the NHS” event, two speakers gave a flavour of their roles. The Medical Physicist role demands a background in physics and a physics degree is a very relevant background for the Information Analyst role .

Michelle Rooney, Trainee Clinical Scientist (Medical Physics), NHS Lothian

A degree in Physics is normal starting point followed by a 3.5 year traineeship with NHS. There are several areas of specialism, the most common being Radiology as this is cancer treatment and receives most focus. At end of training, you get allocated to one of several cities, (you must move where you are allocated and relocate there).

She advises patients and staff of risks surrounding Ionising Radiation (MRIs, Ultrasounds, Brachytherapy radiation implants) and plans layout of labs and equipment to minimise these risks. The job is enjoyable as it is practical and patient facing as opposed to her physics degree which was theoretical. Many applicants can expect to apply twice or more. There are only 5-6 places and 200 applicants each year. The training is accredited by the Academy for Healthcare Science.

Ciara Gribben, Senior Information Analyst – Services Access, NHS

She did a statistics Degree which had a student placement, then went into employment followed by sideways move then promotion with supervisory responsibility. New role as Scrum Master. Her job involves providing stats to Scottish Government, often at very short notice and under pressure to verify accuracy. Main adaption was that real world is a lot more messy than the type within stats degree in an academic setting. There is huge variety to work and plenty of chances to move to different departments within this field. She finds it more enjoyable than degree as it is practical and not theoretical. Software used includes “R”.

Prosper – a student-run socially responsible finance fund – and how physics helps

Thanks to Duncan Harris, 4th year Physics & Music student for sharing his experience with Prosper

“Going into the third year of my Physics and Music degree I began to look for ways to use the skills I had been learning on my course for something beyond the realm of quantum mechanics. A friend pointed me in the direction of Prosper Social Finance, I applied to join and have been involved ever since.

Prosper is the UK’s first student run social finance fund, started by some students here at Edinburgh a couple of years ago. We take on student analysts and train them in the fundamentals of financial analysis, stock markets and sustainability assessment methods whilst they research companies who might be suitable for our fund. This culminates in a stock pitch to our panel of industry experts who select the best stocks to invest in with money from the University. We invest with a longer term view, holding our investments for 5 years after which we sell and take any of the profits and distribute them to social enterprises and charities in Edinburgh.

I joined with no investment experience, and one of the great strengths of Prosper is that it brings voices from all degree backgrounds to the table. I found the maths from my degree put me in a good position to understand all of the financial analysis, and the complex systems, analytical thinking helped me pull apart the messiness behind the sustainability issues facing companies today. I of course learned a lot as well, not least that there is far more complexity to sustainability than just net zero carbon targets and tote bags. What’s best is the programme and collaborative nature of the research allowed me to actually develop all of those skills that look great on a CV in a way that I feel I will definitely be able to apply in the future.

It has given me some great experience in an industry I would not have otherwise considered, and though I don’t think I will pursue a career in asset management specifically my time at Prosper has given me such a good foundation in finance, sustainable business practice and a broader approach to social issues that I feel well placed to pursue my interests in any of those areas.

We run the course each semester so if you’re looking to get involved in a project outside your degree within which you can build and apply your skillset, meet likeminded people and be involved in something that makes a difference I can’t recommend Prosper enough. I hope to see you there.”

To get involved with Prosper Social Finance follow the link to the website and apply there, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

www.prospersocialfinance.co.uk

Alumni Insight – Working in the human side of technology

Like tech? Like people? Great introduction to life in user research

The Careers Service Blog

We’re delighted to share a #TechTuesday guest blog post from University of Edinburgh, Business and Law alumnus, Nicola Hancock. Nicola is a User Researcher within the User Centred Design team, Digital Transformation Division of the Scottish Government… read on for a great insight into the interesting role of User Researcher.

nicola h pic 1 While interviewing some people in their home, after an hour our session was ‘rudely’ interrupted by these two demanding attention.

I have been working in my current role for about 7 months and I’m really enjoying it. However, I wasn’t aware of a User Researcher role, when I left university and it took me a few years after graduating to find out this type of job existed.

I started out working in marketing and social media for a digital magazine, did some web-related work for a digital agency and moved on to office management at Nile, a service design consultancy…

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