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My job explained: Management trainee

My job explained: Management traineeAmber Davis describes why she was attracted to chemistry, explaining that it’s a ‘way of thinking’. Read on to find out why she loves her work.

What stage are you up to in your career?

I'm in the second year of a Graduate Training Scheme. I have already completed a PhD (Inorganic and Structural Chemistry) and fancied a change of career path by moving from academia into a utility company.

What inspired you to study chemistry?

The balance of learning chemistry in lectures then seeing it happen in front of my eyes in the lab was the main draw. I also found it challenging, which made it all the more rewarding.

How long did it take to train and what did the training involve?

After school and A-levels I took a gap year to go travelling. I then went to university where I completed a MChem (masters of chemistry) which took four years. This was a combination of lectures and lab work in the first two years, the third year also included a group project and in the final year I had to complete some of my own research.

The PhD took another four years which was primarily based in a research lab working on my own project. I was part of a team of PhD students who ran the lab together. I was also responsible for teaching and tutoring undergraduate students. Now I'm on my second year out of two in a Graduate Training Scheme. This is a management training course where I move around the company on placements and also get to attend courses to learn management and inter-personal skills.

Can you describe a typical working day?

That's tough, everyday is different. Some days I'm in meetings, others I'm walking around sites taking different measurements, some days I need to get a report written and others I might be volunteering in a school.

What's the best thing about your job?

The variety and the opportunities that are available within the company. I also really appreciated the support from my managers and the flexible working hours which allow me to pursue my interests. I have the perfect work-life balance.

Have there been any challenges in getting to where you are now?

I have often been challenged and I have found that the most efficient way of overcoming hurdles is to focus on what it is that I want to achieve and work towards it.

What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

It's not about being the most clever person, it's about the effort you put in. Make sure you always try your best and just as importantly, make sure that you enjoy yourself along the way.

What’s your favourite thing about chemistry?

Chemistry is a way of thinking, not just learning things out of books. Some of the concepts can be quite hard to grasp, but one you've cracked it, you can apply the same theories to other parts of life and it opens up whole new worlds.

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