How work experience gave me valuable industry insights

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Work experience during university can not only be an effective way of building up your CV for that future graduate job, but also an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the types of industries you might want to pursue your dream career in. This is why short-term experiences can be great stepping stones towards longer-term goals.

Most degree programmes today open doors to multiple career routes across various industries. This was certainly the case for me. As an undergraduate chemical engineer, I soon realised the breadth of my programme. With so many different specialisations available, I initially found it difficult to visualise my life after graduation. I felt that simply learning modules and reading about industries online did not convince me to commit to one career in the future.

Therefore, I sought work experience opportunities that were related to my degree, to give me an idea of which area of engineering I would like to pursue as a career. I was fortunate to complete two summer internships and a year in industry during my time at Aston. Each experience was in completely different roles and industries, yet all of them were within the broad spectrum of engineering. These were short-term experiences which enabled me to have an insight into working within the industry and gain an understanding of potential future roles.

For example, my year in industry was working as a process chemist within the Oil & Gas industry. This was somewhat typical route of a chemical engineer, but through this work I discovered the energy sectors were what interested me the most. Then I gained an internship within the nuclear and power industries, which allowed me to understand what I was passionate about and ultimately make an informed decision on the type of career I would like to pursue.

For anyone that is unsure of a particular career path or industry, my recommendation is to experience it for yourself. You don’t really know until you do it, so don’t knock it until you try!

Written by Muhammed Duman, Careers+Placements Associate

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