Working in Kent
Welcome to the Opportunities in Kent pages, for graduates seeking to remain in, or relocate to, Kent for their first graduate position.
For information on part-time or casual work, see the Work Experience section of this website. University of Kent students can find information about these types of work through the Kent Union Job Shop www.kentunion.co.uk/jobs
- The Kent Job Market
- Opportunities for Graduates in Kent
- Education in Kent
- Public Sector Employers
- Tourism & Heritage
- Other Employers - Large
- Other Employers - Small and Medium Sized (SMEs)
- Self Employment
- Information Links and Publications
- Recruitment Agencies
- Jobs near Kent
THE JOB MARKET IN KENT
Kent has a economically active population of approximately 700,000 with an unemployment rate, in June 2014, of 2% (below the national average of 2.4%) However, levels of unemployment vary across the county, ranging from less than 1.0% in Tunbridge Wells to 4.5% in Thanet.
Service industries account for half of all employment in the county. Local government, health services, education, financial services, hospitality and retail are all important employment areas. Kent’s geographical position as the gateway to the UK from mainland Europe is reflected in a significant number of openings in transport, distribution and travel/tourism services.
Within the manufacturing sector engineering industries, including renewable energy, are a major potential source of graduate employment. Large-scale regeneration and development projects such as the Thames Gateway have created a range of opportunities in the construction sector. A number of food processing manufacturers handle agricultural produce grown in Kent itself or imported from continental Europe and beyond. A historically important industry in Kent has been paper manufacture and a number of companies still continue this traditional business in modern plants.
The public sector employs many people: almost a third of all those in employment who live in Kent (31.6%), are employed in public administration, education and health just above the national average of 29.6%.
These figures are taken from the Kent County Council “Labour Force Profile” available atwww.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/8189/Labour-force-profile.pdf
In 2011/12 almost three quarters of students leaving universities in Kent (74.5%) were in employment six months after graduation: 59.6% full-time and 14.9% part-time. 14.3% of graduates continued into further full-time study while 4.4% were unemployed and seeking work.
Almost 3500 graduates from universities throughout the UK were employed in Kent: two-thirds of these had been resident in the county before going to university.
These figures are taken from the Kent County Council report “Origin and Destination of Graduates in Kent 2011/12” available at
EDUCATION IN KENT
- Higher Education Institutions
- Partner Colleges of the University of Kent
- Other Further Education Institutions
- Specialist Institutions
- Adult Education
- Language Schools
Higher Education Institutions
Kent has several universities, offering a variety of higher degrees, through taught courses or research, on a full-time or part-time basis. Christ Church and Greenwich also offer PGCE (teacher training) courses.
- University of Kent www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate
- Canterbury Christ Church University www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/study-here.aspx
- Greenwich University www2.gre.ac.uk/study
As well as providing opportunities for further study and research, these will offer opportunities for teaching, administrative, library, laboratory and other staff – see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/university.htm. Posts are likely to be advertised on the universities’ websites (below), in the local press or through www.jobs.ac.uk
- University of Kent www.kent.ac.uk/jobs
- Canterbury Christ Church University www.canterbury.ac.uk/about-us/working-here/working-here.aspx
- Greenwich University https://jobs.gre.ac.uk/vacancies.aspx
Partner Colleges of the University of Kent
These provide a variety of courses, including some vocational courses which may be of interest to graduates wishing to improve their practical work-related skills such as languages, office skills and computing. They may also offer employment opportunities as above.
- Canterbury College www.cant-col.ac.uk
- Mid-Kent College www.midkent.ac.uk (Gillingham and Maidstone)
- K College Formed from the merger of South Kent and West Kent Colleges, K College provides a range of further and higher education programmes from campuses in Ashford, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells www.kcollege.ac.uk
Other Further Education Institutions:
- North West Kent College, Gravesend www.nwkcollege.ac.uk
- Bromley College www.bromley.ac.uk
- Hadlow College
- East Kent College (Dover and Folkestone) www.eastkent.ac.uk
- University for the Creative Arts, www.ucreative.ac.uk (Canterbury, Maidstone and Rochester)
- Hadlow College www.hadlow.ac.uk Specialises in land-based industries such as Agriculture and Horticulture. The main campus is near Tonbridge with additional campuses at Canterbury and Medway and in South East London at Mottingham and Greenwich.
- Kent Adult Education Service www.kentadulteducation.co.uk
A Postgraduate Certificate in Education is required to teach in State schools. This course is offered in Kent at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Greenwich. Applications should be made through UCAS.
It is also possible to qualify as a teacher through a schools-based teacher training programme such as School Direct - a new route into teaching which is led by schools, working in close collaboration with Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers, including Canterbury Christ Church University www.canterbury.ac.uk/courses/prospectus/pgce/school-direct.asp
School Direct and other schools-based programmes of initial teacher training in and near Kent include:
- Ashford Teaching Alliance www.ashfordteachingalliance.co.uk
- The Bromley Schools Collegiate www.bscteach.co.uk
- East Kent Learning Alliance www.ekla.org.uk/index.php/itt/schools-direct
- Kent & Medway Training www.kmtraining.org.uk
- Mid Kent Learning Alliance www.mkla.org.uk/itt-schools-direct/school-direct-application
- The Oaks Consortium www.theoaksconsortium.co.uk A group of secondary and primary schools in West Kent
- TKAT www.scitt.tkat.org (Sidcup and Essex)
Working as a classroom assistant or teaching assistant is a useful way of gaining experience of education before beginning a PGCE. Vacancies for these posts are advertised in local papers or on teaching recruitment websites. Kent County Council has a Teacher Recruitment website at www.kent-teach.com which also includes vacancies for support staffTeachers in independent schools do not need to have a PGCE, although it is an advantage. Information on these schools can be obtained from The Independent Schools Council www.isc.co.uk
There are a number of these in Kent, although opportunities for teaching English as a foreign language are mostly seasonal. Some of the major schools are listed below: others can be found on our TEFL Links pages www.kent.ac.uk/careers/siteach.htm#TEFL. As well as offering English language courses for foreign students, the schools listed also offer initial TEFL qualifications for potential teachers.
- Concorde International, Canterbury www.concorde-int.com
- Hilderstone College, Broadstairs www.hilderstone.ac.uk
- Pilgrims English Language Courses, Canterbury www.pilgrims.co.uk
- Stafford House www.staffordhouse.com
- Local Authorities
- The Civil Service
- HM Prison Service
- Health Authorities and Trusts
- Emergency Services
Local authorities - which may be County, District, City or Borough Councils – recruit graduates into a wide range of posts. Although not all of these will require a degree to enter, opportunities to progress within local authorities are usually good.
Career openings in any type of local authority may include Administration, Finance, Law, Management Services, Planning, Surveying and Engineering. Kent County Council and Medway Council have responsibility for Education, Libraries, Social Services and Consumer Protection, among others; the districts and boroughs for Housing and Environmental Health.
Kent County Council runs an annual Graduate Programme. There are two streams, Management and Finance, both open to graduates in any subject www.kent.gov.uk/jobs/starting-your-career/kent-graduate-programme
Other vacancies at KCC are at www.kent.gov.uk/jobs
Job vacancies at Canterbury, Thanet and Dover Councils are listed at www.canterbury.gov.uk/your-community/jobs-volunteering/current-vacancies/
Kent Libraries runs a scheme for volunteers.
Other local authorities in the county are:
- Medway Council www.medway.gov.uk/workandjobs/employmentwithmedwaycouncil.aspx
- Ashford Borough Council www.ashford.gov.uk/jobs
- Dartford Borough Council www.dartford.gov.uk/by-category/jobs-and-careers
- Gravesham Borough Council www.gravesham.gov.uk/services/jobs-and-careers/job-vacancies
- Maidstone Borough Council www.maidstone.gov.uk
- Sevenoaks Borough Council www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/services/jobs-and-careers
- Shepway District Council www.shepway.gov.uk/content/category/1/100008/185/
- Swale Borough Council www.swale.gov.uk
- Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council www.tmbc.gov.uk/services/jobs-and-careers/jobs
- Tunbridge Wells Borough Council http://recruitr-tunbridgewells.jgp.co.uk/vacancies/list
Civil Service - local offices
These include offices of HM Revenue & Customs www.hmrc.gov.uk and Job Centre Plus www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus , which may have occasional vacancies for Administrative Assistants, Administrative Officers and Executive Officers. Immigration Officers are occasionally recruited for work at the Channel ports. Vacancies will be advertised in the local press or on websites such as Jobs Go Public www.jobsgopublic.com
HM Prison Service
There are prison establishments throughout Kent, including Maidstone, Rochester and Sheppey – see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/Probation.htm. Graduates may join a local establishment as a Prison Officer or join the Prison Leaders Scheme for potential governors. Although this is a national scheme, it does take into account your preference for a particular location.
The NHS Management Training Scheme has an annual graduate intake, with a closing date normally in early December.
Graduates are recruited into General, Financial or Human Resources Management and may train in hospitals, primary care trusts or other NHS organisations. Location preferences are taken into account although flexibility is required. See www.nhsgraduates.co.uk
The Kent and Medway Strategic Health Authority www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk is responsible for identifying local health needs and arranging for services to be provided. It monitors the performance of NHS trusts and implements national health programmes at local level.
NHS Trusts are self-governing hospitals or community health services. A number of those in Kent are listed below. They may occasionally recruit administrative personnel as well as medical and medical support staff. For vacancies, see www.jobs.nhs.uk
There are currently four types of NHS Trust: links to all local trusts can be found at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/welcome/nhs-organisations
Primary care trusts
Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for ensuring that services such as doctors, dentists, pharmacists, opticians and other health services are provided in local communities. They may also organise services such as district nursing and community hospitals.
These provide hospital treatment for medical and surgical conditions that cannot be treated at a local GPs surgery or clinic.
Mental health and social care trusts
Along with mental health, these trusts also provide social care type assistance such as help for people with disabilities, addiction services, and help for people with eating disorders.
These provide emergency paramedics and also some non-emergency patient transport. The South East Coast Ambulance Trust www.secamb.nhs.uk covers the Kent, Medway, Surrey and Sussex areas.
- Kent Police www.kent.police.uk/join_us/join.html Civilian and uniformed recruitment, plus volunteering opportunities www.kent.police.uk/specials
Kent Fire & Rescue Service www.kent.fire-uk.org
Marine and Coastguard Agency www.dft.gov.uk/mca
Tourism and Heritage Organisations
Although tourism is an important part of Kent’s economy, career opportunities are relatively limited. Many posts are seasonal and some (such as stewards at National Trust properties or guides at Canterbury Cathedral) purely voluntary.
- English Heritage www.english-heritage.org.uk manages a number of properties in the region, such as Dover Castle, Walmer Castle, St Augustine’s Abbey and Lullingstone Roman Villa. English Heritage’s policy is not to accept speculative enquiries for posts but only responses to advertised vacancies. These can be found on their website or in local papers and include seasonal custodians for some of the above-mentioned sites.
- The National Trust owns and manages land and properties such as Knole House, Chartwell, Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens and the White Cliffs of Dover. Paid posts arise occasionally and may be advertised in the local or specialist press as well as the National Trust’s website www.ntjobs.org.uk There are many opportunities for volunteers – see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-trust/w-volunteering.htm
- Heritage Volunteering Opportunities in Kent www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/HeritageVolunteering.htm
While transport services, especially the cross-Channel ferries and tunnel are vital to Kent’s economy, they offer few opportunities specifically for graduates. Recruitment takes place when vacancies arise and many opportunities are seasonal or part-time. Positions may be advertised in the local press or through recruitment agencies as well as on the companies’ websites listed here:
- Eurostar www.eurostar.com/uk-en/about-eurostar/eurostar-careers Rail passenger services through the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar's head office is based at St Pancras; their call centre is in Ashford and offers part-time employment opportunities for students and graduates;
- Eurotunnel www.eurotunnelgroup.com/uk/eurotunnel-group/Recruitment Eurotunnel manages the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel and operates the freight and passenger vehicle-carrying service from Folkestone to Calais ;
- DFDS Seaways www.dfdsgroup.com/careers/careers runs passenger and freight services from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk
- P&O Ferries www.poferries.com Dover-Calais ferries;
- Port of Dover www.doverport.co.uk
- South Eastern Trains www.southeasternrailway.co.uk runs train services in Kent , South London and parts of East Sussex;
- Lydd ( London Ashford) Airport www.lydd-airport.co.uk Currently runs scheduled services to Le Touquet and aims to expand the airport and its services
Other Employers - Large
Large companies in Kent include:
- Abbott Laboratories www.abbottuk.com (Queenborough) and Abbott Murex www.abbottdiagnostics.co.uk (Dartford) – pharmaceuticals and medical products
- BAE Systems www.baesystems.com/graduates - defence, security and aerospace technology. Location: Rochester
- Saga www.saga.co.uk - travel and financial services. Has a management training scheme. Jobs in Folkestone, Thanet and Hastings.
- UPS www.ups.com Dartford in Kent. UPS, or United Parcel Service Inc., is a global company with one of the most recognised and admired brands in the world. As the largest express carrier and package delivery company in the world, we are also a leading provider of specialised transportation, logistics, capital, and e-commerce services. Every day we manage the flow of goods, funds and information in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. UPS Dartford, Riverside Industrial Estate, Riverside Way, Dartford, Kent, DA1 5BS
Other large national employers such as banks, chain stores and fast-food restaurants are, of course, well-represented in Kent by their local branches. They may not offer many opportunities for graduates seeking long-term careers in the area as most expect their graduate recruits to be fully mobile throughout the country. However, if you only wish to stay in Kent for a short period you may be able to express a preference for this area as your first posting. Recruitment is usually carried out centrally – check our vacancy database and other graduate vacancy sites www.kent.ac.uk/careers/graddirectories.htm for vacancy and contact details.
Around 75% of jobs in Kent are with SMEs: small and medium-sized enterprises employing less than 200 people. These are obviously an important source of work for graduates hoping to find employment in Kent, but recruitment is often irregular and jobs may not be widely advertised. You should use all the vacancy sources mentioned here – local newspaper websites, the University of Kent vacancy database, Job Centres and recruitment agencies – as well as making speculative approaches direct to employers. The following information resources should be helpful:
- Working for an SME www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sme.htm
- Kentgrads www.kentgrads.org.uk our own database of local employers. Please note that this is no longer being updated.
- Grads Kent www.gradskent.com a one-stop shop for employment opportunities in Kent for students and graduates. Includes graduate jobs and placement opportunities for interns, gap-year and sandwich-year students.
- Kent Enterprise www.kent.ac.uk/business is the one-stop-shop specifically tasked with interfacing between the University of Kent and industry;
- Locate in Kent www.locateinkent.com information for investors but also useful background on employers and opportunities in Kent
- The Kent Foundation www.kentfoundation.org charity helping young people (aged 18-30) to start up in business
- See also our pages on self-employment at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/selfemployment.htm
Websites and publications advertising jobs in Kent
- GradsKent www.GradsKent.com a free service to the graduates of Kent and aim to promote graduates as an essential resource to local businesses. Looking for graduates to register on the site and upload their CV's so they can either apply for the jobs online or be matched by our internal team for suitable graduate level roles.
- Jooble www.jooble.org Jobs in Kent
- Kent Jobs www.kentjobs.co.uk jobs advertised in Kent Messenger Group Newspapers. The site also lists recruitment agencies in the county
- Kent and Sussex Courier www.courier.co.uk/jobs for jobs in the Tunbridge Wells area
- Jobs in Kent www.jobsinkent.com Kent Vacancies
- Yourcounty.co.uk has a Kent Jobs page at www.yourcounty.co.uk/business/jobs.html
- Totaljobs Kent www.totaljobs.com/JobSeeking/Kent_l1894_t2.html
- Job centre vacancies www.job-centre-vacancies.co.uk Guidance and advice for UK job seekers.
- HR GO www.hrgo.co.uk offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Chatham, Dartford, Folkestone and Ramsgate.
- NAG www.newappointmentsgroup.co.uk probably the largest agency in Kent
- Newline Recruitment www.newlinerecruitment.co.uk specialise in insurance, graduate and marketing recruitment in Kent
- Whitehall www.whitehall.uk.com Kent-based scientific recruitment agency specialising in technical, commercial and operations roles in the Biotechnology, Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Polymer industries;
- List of Kent agencies www.jobsinkent.com/recruiters.html
- Also see our recruitment agencies page www.kent.ac.uk/careers/recruit.htm
Many Kent residents travel to work outside the county – the majority to London but a number to the neighbouring counties of Surrey and Sussex and some even to mainland Europe. If you are prepared to commute, the following sites may be helpful:
- Job sites for London www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitesgen.htm#LONDON
- Working in Sussex: resources compiled by Sussex University www.diigo.com/list/sussexcdec/working-in-sussex
- Looking for a Job in Surrey www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/current/work/surreyjob
- EuresChannel http://www.eureschannel.org/fr/ Vacancy resources in the French-Belgian-English border regions: information in French and Dutch/Flemish
Last fully updated 2014