The chemical industry is at the heart of manufacturing. With a turnover in excess of £57bn, the UK chemical industry is internationally competitive, employing over 180,000 people working for 3,000 organisations. (Source: Chemical Industries Association, March 2011 www.cia.org.uk)
Chemistry graduates from Kingston University have established a good employment record over many years, gaining jobs in research, development, marketing, sales, teaching and other areas. Around a third of our students go on to further studies at MSc, MPhil and PhD level.
Check out what our graduates have gone on to do and how studying at Kingston helped them achieve their goals.
Former student: Helen Rothery
Course: Chemistry with Business BSc(Hons)
Year of graduation: 1990
Current job: Technical sales, Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd
Location: Cheadle, Cheshire
Helen decided to study chemistry with business and enjoys working with both elements of her degree. Helen also does voluntary work for a charity called Reuben and Friends and has written a poetry book called Vision of Hope on its behalf.
"Chemistry was my main interest at school and there were several things about the degree at Kingston that appealed to me. Firstly, the fact that it offered the chance to study as a joint honours with business appealed to me. I felt this provided a broad spectrum of options and would enable me to pursue a career in the technical or commercial field. I also liked that it offered a sandwich year in industry, which I thought would be very useful.
"More generally, I was attracted by the University's location. Coming from the Yorkshire countryside, I fancied being close to London and having a completely new experience.
"Once I had settled on the course, I made friends and really enjoyed myself. Looking back, I wish I could do it all again. For me the best thing about being at Kingston was the atmosphere. I was with a really good bunch of people who made it very special. Everyone got on really well and we worked hard and played hard.
"I graduated in 1990, which was a difficult time to find a job so initially I worked providing technical and sales support in a computer department. However, I really wanted to work in chemistry and in '92 I got a job with Rohn & Hass, a big American manufacturer of acrylics. This was in technical sales and I have remained in the field ever since.
"I now work for Thor Specialities selling preservatives called biocides, which go in products such as paint or adhesives. I work with chemistry everyday. I might be looking into problems such as the viscosity of paint or explaining both the technical and commercial side of the company's products, in short what a product does and how it works, and this calls on both my chemical and business expertise.
"The thing I enjoy most about my work is the variety – every day is different. I may have to communicate with someone with a PhD in chemistry or with very little technical knowledge. I sell to a whole range of different industries, manufacturing anything from shampoo to drilling fluid. So one of the most useful elements of my degree has been the wide range of subjects it encompassed.
"If you are considering this course my advice is go for it. It opens you up to lots of possibilities and gives you the opportunity to choose from a variety of career paths."
The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques. Specific advice is also available for international students about the UK job market and employers' expectations and requirements.
The team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs, key speakers from industry and interviews on campus. These events give you the opportunity to hear from, and network with, employers in an informal setting. For example, here students are practising their interview skills with employers at a 'speed interviewing' event on campus.
In addition to building expertise in your own discipline, our courses will also help you to develop key transferable skills that you'll need for professional life or further study once you graduate.
As well as a range of careers and employability activities at Kingston, we also offer you the chance to apply and develop your skills in live contexts as an integral part of your course. Opportunities include:
In your final year, you'll get the opportunity to complete a major 'capstone' project where you can apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to a range of real issues in different contexts. This is a great way to learn and is a valuable bridge to employment or further research at masters level.
If you decide that you would like to go on to postgraduate study after your undergraduate course, we offer a 10 per cent discount on our postgraduate course tuition fees to our alumni. Here are some courses that might interest you: