Year in industry program

The School of Chemistry offers an elective program to Second Year students in which they have the opportunity to spend their third year of training in full-time employment in the chemical industry or a government scientific laboratory. Over the years, feedback from students who have taken part in the program has indicated that this "year in industry" has added much to their confidence, as well as their finances, and is perceived as a definite advantage by potential employers. The new skills acquired both work-related and interpersonal, that can only be learnt "on-the-job", all add to improved employability in future years. At the end of the year, participating students return to the University to complete their studies for their Science Degree. In many cases, they then proceed to their Honours Degree in Chemistry.

How to apply

2014 applications have now closed.

Requirements for entry into the program

Students electing this alternative program must have the character and self-reliance to be able to work effectively in an industrial setting, which will be quite different from the academic framework of lectures, laboratory assignments and examinations. In the selection of students, some weight is given to academic performance during the first and second years, with particular emphasis on good work in the practical courses. However, academic performance is not the only criterion for selection and personal interviews will be conducted by a small committee of staff members to advise students on their suitability for the program.

The committee shortlists students for interview by a particular employer but the actual selection of a student is made by the employer concerned after personal interview. Usually, a number of students are sent to each job interview, so that the placement procedures extend over several weeks during the September/October period.

Type of work in industry

The jobs offered are regular jobs and not a special training program or assignment designed especially for students. Therefore, the range of work required is varied. The work ranges from analysis of industrial chemicals to testing of new pharmaceutical products and use of a wide range of instrumentation and techniques. Some jobs are in research laboratories and others in production and quality control. The jobs are for approximately twelve months, commencing in December, January or February, depending on the employer. The number of positions varies from year to year. Thus it should be realised that not all students who apply can be accommodated in the program. The salaries offered vary considerably, being determined by a variety of industrial awards.

Motivation for the program

The School of Chemistry has instigated this program for a number of reasons. Firstly, an increasing proportion of career opportunities in chemistry are in the industrial sector (here we include CSIRO and similar laboratories.) Secondly, the academic curriculum is designed to teach fundamentals of chemistry but we believe that students should also learn something of the complex interplay of human, technical and financial factors that determine the stage and progress of the national chemical economy. This kind of learning can best be done in a job and not from books or lectures. Lastly, students who have participated in the program have a distinct advantage with regard to job opportunities.

Student profiles

Click here to read about the experiences of students who spent a year in the program.

Contact person

Ms Dimetra Skondras-Silva
Administrative Officer
School of Chemistry
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
T: +61 2 9351 4504
F: +61 2 9351 3329