Career Pathways Workshop held at the Institute of Physics'

6 July 2017

On Wednesday 14th June, the Oxford University Women in Materials Science (WiMS) group, fronted by Shazeaa Ishmael, Laura Wheatley and Anne Callow, in collaboration with the Institute of Physics (IoP), ran their inaugural Career Pathways workshop; an event designed to provide insight into the career opportunities available to, and possible career challenges faced by, those who identify as women working in science. The event was sponsored by the London and South East (LSE) branch of the IoP and hosted at the IoP's central office in Portland Place, London.

The Oxford University Women in Materials Science group was set up to provide a forum in which women working in science can share concerns, garner feedback and address problems. It also has the remit of working closely with the Materials Department to consider gender balance issues. Via informal lunchtime socials it was noted that the progression of, and difficulties faced by, women in science is largely under-reported. In addition, it was felt that insufficient information is available, in particular to undergraduates and PhD students, about those science sector career paths which are not wholly academic.

To address such concerns, the Career Pathways initiative was born and designed to provide a platform on which female professionals, who have used a science degree to underpin their careers, could showcase their employment experiences to date and tender advice. All speakers were established specialists in their chosen field and represented a diverse range of disciplines; from science policy and academia to innovation and engineering.

Co-organiser, and IoP representative, Mark Telling (STFC) said "This was a hugely inspiring, yet honest, inaugural meeting. Not only was it very well attended for a pilot, but Career Pathways really did provide a unique opportunity to network, ask probing questions, and fully engage with establish professionals in a supportive environment. We look forward to collaborating with the WiMS team again next year."

The organisers are incredibly grateful to the speakers for contributing to the success of this project and whose frank, personal anecdotes regarding both good and bad career choices proved invaluable. Speakers included Tilly Spencer (EDF Hinkley Point C), Samantha Carter (Mott MacDonald), Helen McGloin (Rolls Royce Women's Network), Sian Berry (MP), Rachel Oliver (Cambridge University), Susie Speller (Oxford University), Philippa Nuttall (Patent Office) and Ceri Brenner (STFC, Research and Innovation) and Stephanie Richardson (IoP, Accreditation and Career Support) Thank you all.

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