You may have heard about the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP), seen as one of the main professional options for science graduates wanting to work in healthcare. Applications are now open (until 12th February 2018). So is it one of the options for you to consider after you graduate, and if so how best should you prepare for a successful application?
Read on for further information about the programme from Careers Consultant Maya, who works with SBCS students.
Is this scheme the default option if I am taking a science degree and am interested in healthcare?
The short answer is no as the scheme is so competitive. In 2016 there were 5,768 applicants for 258 places in the whole of the UK. Not all applicants are fresh out of an undergraduate degree either, which makes the competition even fiercer. However, if you think you would like to do lab and scientific analysis in a hospital or other clinical setting, working in a team with other scientists, doctors and nurses, and do not want a research career, then it might be very well worth finding out more and giving it a go!
In 2017, clinical immunology and microbiology had by far the highest competition ratios, with 93 and 113 applicants per post respectively. You can see the full application breakdown below.
December has been and gone and the cold, hard reality of January is now upon us all. It is rarely an easy time of year, but throw in the added pressures of a graduate job hunt and it can be particularly hard to get motivated, to stay motivated and to remain positive.
Of course, everyone’s situation is going to be a little different – some of you be dealing with the results of pre-Christmas applications that you made, others may be starting to think seriously about applying for jobs for the first time – but your optimism may well be challenged. What, therefore, can you be doing to ensure that you remain upbeat through the months ahead?
Formulate a plan (and stick to it!)
Before anything else, take the time to work out the steps you need to take and plan them. Goals are much easier to achieve if you have a methodical way of working towards them and ticking items off the plan will help you feel that you are making progress. A Careers Consultant can help you identify your next steps and put together a plan if you are unsure how to get started.
In difficult economic times such as these, UK graduates could find themselves struggling to find a job. Consequently, working abroad might seem like a more attractive and viable option.
But before you get applying, there are a few things you might want to consider.
Choosing a country
From a casual browse of the internet, you will find that there is no shortage of opportunities for employment abroad. Therefore, the onus will be on you to try and narrow down the results to find the jobs that best suit your preferences.
Are you looking for a long-term position that would see you living in another country permanently, or at least for an extended period? Maybe you might want something a little more casual, something that could be incorporated into your travel plans? If this is the case, it might be worth focusing on the region you most want to visit.
Whatever you decide, be sure to always check the visa requirements before you travel. While some countries are relatively relaxed on employing tourists, others are not quite so forthcoming. In such instances, applying for a visa can be a tricky process, without any definite guarantees.
We have lots of great events coming up this term, including our International Students Careers Week – see below for some highlights. For the full list, see careers.qmul.ac.uk/events
29/01 – Google Skills – Writing for Social Media
Whether you’re looking to start your own business, or aspire to be a social media marketer, hear from expert Googlers on how to develop these skills.
30/01 – Get into Teaching!
Join the Department for Education (DfE) for an introduction to the teaching profession, an overview of what to expect in the role, and a chance to ask questions about your teacher training options. ARK Teacher Training and TeachFirst also confirmed to attend.
31/01 – Diversity in the Civil Service
The Civil Service Fast Stream invites you to a panel discussion about the importance of diversity in Whitehall with current civil servants from a range of backgrounds and departments.
06/02 – PwC for Humanities and Social Sciences
This session, delivered by PwC, is designed to highlight key employability skills you’ve learnt throughout your course, and showcase how these skills are transferable across a range of different careers.
A growing number of UK universities are now using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) for their Medicine and Dentistry applications. St. George’s Medical School was the first UK institution to adopt this system in 2010 and it has spread quickly ever since.
The advantage that an MMI has for you is that if you have problems in one scenario or you feel that your answer has not been up to par, you can recover and give an excellent performance in a different situation, where you will be interacting with a different interviewer. It also gives you more opportunities to shine!
When you go for an MMI, you move around an average of 10 interview stations.
Each station lasts around 8-10 minutes and can include role-play activities, data analysis, traditional interview questions as well as questions on a given situation. You will be given time to prepare your answer and then you will interact with or be observed by an interviewer. The situations deal with a wide range of issues but they will normally focus on:
- Ethical decision making
- Critical Thinking skills
- Communication skills
- Contemporary healthcare issues
It is important to remember that you will NOT be assessed on your scientific knowledge.
Got an upcoming video interview?
We’re pleased to announce we have just launched InterviewStream – our *brand new* video interview platform, where you can record and practise a number of ready made video interviews or create your own custom interview from a large bank of questions.
- Practise whenever, and wherever!
Take your mock interview using a Mac, PC, Android or iOS device.
- Choose from 7000+ questions
Browse the library of interview questions, organised into themes and sectors, or select a ready made set of questions designed for you, including sector-specific interviews covering medicine, law, business and more.
- See and hear yourself online
Review your own performance. Practise at your own pace and retry as many times as you need to. Why not try out the ‘umm, like, you know & I mean’ counter to tally how many filler words you’re using!
Sign up with your QMUL email address here to get started.
A new year is a new start: it’s the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish and to set new goals. Why not use January to reflect on your career ambitions and formulate plans for achieving them?
- Follow relevant people and organisations on Twitter: use your social media profiles to develop an up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of the field or fields you are interested in. This can be a source of inspiration and interest, increasing your passion for pursuing your chosen career path. Getting to grips with current issues or debates in the industry is also very useful for answering commercial awareness questions in future interviews (e.g. ‘what do you think is the most important issue currently facing our company’).
- Reflect on 2017: why not use January to reflect on the progress you’ve made in 2017? What skills have you developed through your course and your extra-curricular activities? What responsibilities did you take on in your work experience? Did you receive any praise from fellow team-members or from an employer? It’s useful to keep an ongoing record of your accomplishments which you can use as the basis for targeted CVs and job applications in future. Think also about your interests. What motivates you, energises you and interests you? Reflecting on the kind of tasks which you find meaningful and engaging (rather than the sort of tasks which you feel you should be interesting to you) can be useful in making decisions about your career path.
- Decide what you want to achieve in 2018: think carefully about what you want to accomplish for your career this year. You could start by looking at the person specifications and job descriptions for graduate and entry-level jobs in the area you’re interested in. Where are the gaps in your CV which you need to fill before you’d be able to apply for these jobs? Then look for ways in which you can fill these gaps, such as work experience placements, QProjects, internships and volunteering. Identifying your goals at the beginning of the year can give you direction and focus.
- Make a plan: think realistically about how you will achieve your aims. If your goal is ‘find work experience’, break it down into small, manageable steps.
E.g.: Step one – research organisations offering summer work experience placements. Step two – start an application for one placement, tailoring your CV and cover letter to the employer’s requirements. Step three: visit the Careers and Enterprise Centre to have the application reviewed. Step four: Revise the CV.Decide when you will work on these career development tasks. Why not set aside a regular time each week? Set yourself deadlines to make sure that you complete everything you plan to.
- Brush up on your interview skills: practice is the key to successful interview performance. The more familiar you are with articulating your key selling points in succinct and compelling ways, the more likely you are to be a persuasive interviewee. You might not have an interview coming up, but why not record yourself answering common interview questions (such as ‘tell us about a time when you have demonstrated effective communication skills’)? Then watch the interview back – even if it’s embarrassing! Look at your body language, listen to your tone of voice and think about how specific and concise your answers are. Then work on ways to improve your weaker areas. You could also practice with a friend, and take turns being the interviewer and interviewee. This will give you a new perspective on interview questions.