The latest student event organised by the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association (OCCA) at the University of Salford coincided with the University’s largest new student intake, into the area of Chemical Sciences, for more than 20 years. University life itself has changed remarkably during the last two decades, as have the challenges faced by our graduates once they leave University and embark on a career that will, for many, change the direction of their life forever. Most of us can cast our minds back to the first job that we had after leaving School, College or University, and in many cases we recognise this as a defining moment on the path to where we find ourselves today.
Choosing a career, and finding opportunities to pursue such a choice, has never been more difficult. The current generation of University graduates face a reality where career boundaries are now blurred and not clearly linked, in most cases, to the main subjects that they studied. In addition, the search for graduate level jobs has never been so competitive and complex. Local ties between industry and a University, with strong reputations in areas such as Chemistry, can be crucial in enabling graduates to pursue their favoured career choices.
The OCCA event at Salford University in October was a huge success, with more than 80 first year students attending. They were treated to some stimulating and insightful talks by OCCA members and a enjoyed a memorable buffet lunch obtained from the local Subway outlet! In the final part of the event the students were presented with OCCA embroidered lab coats and as you can see from the photographs, a week later, these were finding good use in our main teaching laboratory. Intriguingly some of the lab coats have also found their way into some of our Research laboratories in the last few weeks!
Students need to work hard, apply themselves – and have a little bit of luck – to get a good job after graduation. However, relationships between organisations representing industry contribute greatly to a student’s chances of future success. The University of Salford recognises the importance of external speakers and organisations who sacrifice so much of their time, energy and resources to give students an insight into future career choices and pathways. As such the academics and students at Salford University would like to express their thanks to all the members of OCCA who have given so much to the student experience over the last 12-months and we hope the relationship will continue to flourish in the years ahead.
David Pye FRSC
Head of Chemical Sciences
The University of Salford