16th April 2021
Choosing a company that will support you to have an interesting, impactful career and is true to your values is a big decision. Everyone has different things that they want and need from an employer, and this will change throughout our work journey.
One factor that is important for many of us is an organization's commitment to training and development. Organisations that are proud of their training and development record will want to answer your questions, evidencing the support you can expect. At Oxford Instruments, we have a strong, established record of investing in our employees. We hope by sharing our teams’ experiences, we will help you with the questions you want to ask of a potential employer so you can enjoy your work.
Personal and career development continues throughout our careers. Linear careers of increasing seniority along a single path used to be the norm and are still right for some people. It is increasingly common to move sideways, upwards, and downwards, and between multiple different roles. These opportunities keep us learning and inspired throughout our career. Ask potential employers about how they have supported people to change roles and keep learning right through their career.
Here are some of the things our people have achieved which we hope will inspire you. Dave* has a well-established position as a Supervisor in our Operations team, but he had never had the opportunity to finish his formal qualifications. We are funding and supporting him to complete his HND. He is already bringing his learning and new ideas back to his team. Dave has a young family and understandably needs to balance studying with family and work. He is totally committed to everything he takes on and works so hard, so the least we can do is to make sure he has some quiet time at work to complete his assignments.
After finishing a career in Finance and Insurance, Rebecca decided she wanted to change direction. She realised she is a practical person at heart, so joined us as a Build Technician as she loves the hands-on, problem-solving challenges of working in an Operations role. We are taking her through her qualifications in Mechatronics.
One of favourite examples is one of our team who graduated with a company-sponsored Master’s degree after their 60th birthday.
If so, you are probably looking for a company that offers formal early careers training and development. It might be an exciting way to kick-start your career if you are the first apprentice or the first graduate to join a small firm. Alternatively, you could benefit more from joining an established programme at a larger employer where you can develop alongside other people, sharing experiences and learning from mentors.
Every year, it is rewarding to welcome new Apprentices and watch them gain qualifications, new skills, confidence, and experience as they move around our business. We supported Mike straight from school, through his HND and onto his Engineering Degree. He was able to earn and learn, had no tuition fees to pay and we have a very impressive Engineer who is continuing to move up through our technical career ladder.
Our interns and graduates in Engineering, Physics, Technology and Chemistry are all doing well with many now in management roles or developing careers in other disciplines. Two of our very talented Marketers started their careers in our Applications Laboratory.
If it is necessary for you to gain a professional qualification to progress in your chosen career, find an organisation that recognises this and will invest in your development. Where a particular qualification is not essential for your career, but you have a real passion to deepen your expertise to contribute something new, find out about what types of study-sponsorship schemes are on offer.
Vicky has only recently joined our Finance team and we are supporting her as she gets UK professional recognition of her overseas qualifications. She joins another colleague in Finance, Jack, who we are supporting through his accountancy qualifications.
Mark has nearly finished his Master’s degree in Information Technology, joining many others in our business who have completed degrees and postgraduate qualifications with us. Gary is doing his Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence, all while having the financial security of working for us. He will be putting this into practice as he helps spearhead our data science research.
Many good companies also invest in recognised external programmes, such as Miller Heiman Sales Training. Completing this course has supported several our Scientists and Engineers to create successful sales careers.
Formal qualifications and training programmes can be important for your development, but ‘on the job’ experience is also very valuable. Secondments, or projects that give you the opportunity to be involved in something new are a great way to learn.
Vince’s secondment from Operations to Project Management was so successful that we created a permanent position for him. Trish has grabbed all the opportunities we could give her in her journey from purchasing to leading a global Sales Support team. As someone capable of hitting the ground running, she benefited from a secondment to one of our divisions in the USA where she was able to provide a lot of management support in challenging circumstances.
Volunteering to work on different projects can also give you the opportunity to create your own path. Laura, one of our very senior Innovation Developers, has a passion for sustainable development. She leads a cross-functional team of people who want to make our products sustainable and our world a better place to live.
It is a difficult time for some jobseekers at the moment. Some sectors have been harder hit than others by Covid and lockdowns. Keep an eye on company careers pages for new jobs. If the companies you are interested in have recruitment teams, make connections with them. It may take more time, effort, and patience but you will be on your way to a meaningful career with an organisation that is right for you now and in the future.
*These are all people in our business, but we have changed their names to protect their privacy.