Christopher C.

Graduate Physicist
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Christopher C.
United Kingdom

My employment

Graduate Physicist
Cavendish Nuclear
United Kingdom
Environment and energy
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Graduate Physicist in the United Kingdom

Professional skills training from my degree has proved invaluable

How I looked for work

I started to look for work in the September before starting my final year at University. I would say that it is important to start the search early as graduate jobs become more and more competitive each year. Using websites such as gradcracker are an excellent way of finding jobs in more technical industries. It is a difficult process to manage. I had interviews during the final few months at University and it is often difficult to prioritise revision, your dissertation and job interviews. This is why starting the process early is important and being effective in time management will help you with this process.

How I found out about the job

Other graduate recruitment website

The recruitment process

I applied online and after a few months recieved a phonecall asking me to do a psychometric test, which I passed. I was then asked to go to an assessment centre which was a two day event. This had a mix of group activities, business game, technical quiz and interview, as well as a business dinner on the evening. It is probably one of the more relaxed assessment centres that I attended as current graduates were there to talk to you and help run the two day event. I recieved a phonecall after the assessment centre offering me a position along with one other person in the same area. The functional manager wanted to take us both in and to establish ways to fit us into the team I was asked to go to an informal interview a month later. However, I think this was a one off occasion and is unlikely to happen to other graduates.

My career goals when I graduated

Move into a graduate scheme with a large business in any technical, scientific or engineering sector.

My career history

Summer internship in Engineering/Manufacturing Support after second year at University. Summer after third year I was granted a department research bursary and spent the summer carrying out an experiment looking at imaging magnetic domain walls.

What has helped my career to progress

Working hard at University, starting job applications early and taking any opportunity that comes my way.

Courses taken since graduation

No official courses taken yet but some are planned in the future to help with my application to become a Radiation Protection Advisor.

How my studies have helped my career

Having a good understanding of physics allows me to apply my knowledge to a variety of different areas. Physics in general sets you up with an intelligent mind and I have had little problem moving into areas which I have never covered during my time at University. The professional skills modules studied have become invaluable in carrying out presentations and working a day to day job.

What surprised me about my career so far

Career progression can be quite quick and the opportunites that you are presented with can come thick and fast. I have learnt more about myself from training on the graduate scheme than I ever have previously.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

Either working as a Radiation Protection Advisor in support of projects across the business or leading projects/managing teams of technical people. I have little doubt that these opportunities will come my way in the near future if I continue to learn and work hard.

My advice to students considering work

Be flexible, look forward to meeting new people and take any opportunity that comes your way.

My advice about working in my industry

The nuclear industry is one that is undergoing a revolution. If new builds go ahead then we can look forward to an abundance of work. The ageing workforce means that work will become more readily available for us in the near future, so best to get in sooner rather than later and take the opportunity to learn from these vastly experienced colleagues.

Contacting me

I can mentor any student looking to move into a technical industry going through the same types of assessment centre as I did.

What I do

As part of the Radiation Protection team it is my job to ensure that any project or operation that the company manages and delivers is done so to meet the Ionising Radiations Regulations. I am part of a wide Graduate scheme moving around different placements that allow me to develop knowledge in different areas of the business. My first placement was at my home location in Radiation Protection and I was given the chance to see how the company's Radiation Protection Advisors work across the business to provide their expertise. I am currently working in metrology, picking up knowledge of radiological instrumentation, contributing to the every day running of the business as well as being able to manage my own type test projects to form a good understanding of the range of detectors available to the industry.

Skills I use and how I developed them

The most important skill I have used is effective communication. As a new graduate coming into the business it is important to network effectively, make yourself known to people around the business and take as many opportunities that come your way as possible. Technical report writing has become an important task for me and I am using my skills picked up from experimental laboratory in my current placement in metrology. The professional skills training provided during my degree has proved invaluable and I cannot stress how useful they all are during the early stages of your career.

What I like most

Being on a graduate scheme provides me with more opportunities for training than most. Arranging placements can be fairly straightforward as people are willing to show you how the company works in different areas of the industry. The support provided by the Learning and Development team to help you move aorund the country is excellent.

What I like least

Being a graduate means you are often at the bottom of the pecking order of teams, meaning work sometimes trickles down to you. It is important that during any downtime you have that you are as proactive as possible, trying to establish new opportunities for work and learning.

What surprised me most

I found it surprising that, when you are given work, you are given the time and belief that you can complete it. It is surprising to see how willing people are to help you and see you along the way to becoming an established member of the team.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Christopher’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Christopher a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Christopher to be your mentor.

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