Case Studies

Career exploration in first-year Chemistry tutorials

With great sadness, we have to share that our friend and colleague, Chris, passed away in September 2022. We remember him as an innovator in educator, brilliant scientist and all-round great human being. This case study was produced in January 2021.

The Practice

Like most disciplines, School of Chemistry graduates can apply their skills in diverse sectors. To raise student awareness of career options and support them to be ready to apply for work experience in their second year, the School and Careers Service collaborated to develop and implement a “What can you do with a Chemistry degree?” Personal Tutor facilitated activity for all first-year students. 

Using the Graduate Outcomes data, each student selected an organisation which had previously hired a Bristol Chemistry graduate. The Careers Service provided resources and advice through narrated videos and examples on how to research organisations to support the students to prepare a 3-minute narrated PowerPoint to present to their tutorial group (a skill that they would need later in their degree for assessed work). In their tutorial group they presented and then discussed: how Chemistry graduates have the skills to work in the roles within these organisations; which organisations appeal to them; and how they could develop the required skills to work there.  These discussions were facilitated by Personal Tutors who had received advice, via an information sheet, from the Careers Service on how to oversee this.

The Impact

Students were asked to provide qualitative feedback on the activity. Overall, students found it beneficial noting that it made them “start to think about life after university”. One student said, “it opened my eyes to how many career paths I can go into” and another was “surprised by the jobs that weren’t lab based”.  

The Careers and Employability Lead then used this feedback to send an email to all first-year students signposting additional Careers Service support and tailored support they will receive in their second year to encourage them to find and apply for work experience.

Next Steps

Later in the academic year, first-year students completed another careers-directed activity which was facilitated by Personal Tutors. This required them to select a role from a curated list of vacancies (including a year-out placement for year-in-industry students), write a CV and covering letter, and provide peer feedback on these. This allowed them to implement the research skills they had developed from the first activity to tailor their applications. 

This activity will be repeated in the 2021/22 academic year. The Careers Service and School will, in particular, consider how this activity can be developed to also make it relevant to those students who are interested in starting their own business after graduation.  


Please contact Eilidh Sligo, Faculty Employability Consultant, Faculty of Science ( to find out more about this activity. 

Take a look at the Employability in the curriculum information on BILT’s website for more ideas on enhancing employability in the curriculum.

Case study produced in July 2021.  Updated January 2023.

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