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Work experience

Where can I get chemistry related work experience?

It can be hard to get chemistry related work experience, especially in labs. An easier option might be to look for chemical companies in your area and then ask if they might have work experience in some of the other business functions within the company. This is a good way to learn more about the uses and applications of chemistry without having to be fully trained to be safe in a laboratory. It is also sometimes easier to ask for work-shadowing opportunities, rather than direct hands-on work experience. Have a look online for possible companies.

Student on work experience     © R Bowles

Your local hospital might also be worth approaching for work experience in the pathology labs, which use a lot of techniques involving chemistry. Finding a work experience placement can be difficult but companies and universities really like students who have the enthusiasm and independence to hunt for a relevant position. You should keep in mind that it is likely you will not be doing any vital tasks during your work experience. Mundane jobs are part of working life too, and your efforts will not go unnoticed by potential employers and referees for your CV. It is also a good idea to maintain contact with this work experience placement even after you leave, which could be via email, phone call or social media. It is possible they may have future job vacancies or be able to help you in some other way.

The Royal Society of Chemistry does not provide work experience for school students. However, your nearest Royal Society of Chemistry Local Section (of which there are 35 throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland) may be able to offer advice on how to find placements in your area.

We have also produced this guide to work experience for school and college students

Additional links

  • Try contacting your local Education Business Partnership and or your local STEMNET contract holder.
  • The Nuffield Foundation offer research placements to over 1,000 students.
  • The British Science Association Crest Awards scheme can help students gain key employability skills.
  • The Year in Industry (YINI) is the UK's leading student placement expert who may be able to offer you one year placements before you start university.
  • In the Republic of Ireland there is more help available from Smart Futures and Careersportal.