I Want to Work In Kent
THE JOB MARKET IN KENT
Kent has an economically active population of approximately 720,000 with an unemployment rate, in August 2016, of 1.6% (below the national average of 1.8%) However, levels of unemployment vary across the county, ranging from less than 0.7% in Tunbridge Wells to 3.2% in Thanet.
The professional, scientific and technical industry group accounts for the largest proportion of Kent businesses with 17.4% whilst the construction industry is the second largest in Kent with 15.1%.
Kent has a high proportion of small businesses – over three-quarters of all Kent's businesses employ fewer than five people.
The public sector employs many people: almost 30% of all those in employment who live in Kent are employed in public administration, education and health.
These figures are taken from the Kent County Council “Labour Force Profile” available at www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/8189/Labour-force-profile.pdf
In 2013/14 over three quarters of students leaving universities in Kent (75.7%) were in employment six months after graduation: 61.8% full-time and 13.9% part-time. 13.8% of graduates continued into further full-time study while 3.8% were unemployed and seeking work.
Over 5600 graduates from universities throughout the UK were employed in Kent: 43% of these had studied in Kent. These figures are taken from the Kent County Council report “Origin and Destination of Graduates in Kent 2013/14” available at
Working while Studying in Kent
As a tourist town surrounded by a large amount of farmland, Canterbury offers numerous opportunities for casual work. Most of these are in shops, restaurants, bars and fruit picking or packing. Call centres and market research organisations are another good source of part-time vacancies, especially for students with language skills.
- The Kent Union Jobshop www.kentunion.co.uk/employability/jobshop handles summer vacancies as well as term-time part-time work
- The University continues to function during your vacations! The conference trade brings a fresh demand for catering and cleaning staff, while there are some short-term posts in Enrolment Management Services when A-level results come out in August. Most of these posts will be advertised through the Job Shop.
- Many of the summer visitors to Canterbury are language students, and the language schools have vacancies for both English language teachers and social/activity organisers. You need a TEFL certificate for the former, although this takes only a four-week course to obtain.
- Many retail and catering jobs are advertised in the most simple of ways - via a "Help Wanted" card in the window. Take a walk down the High Street from time to time and look out for these - or just go in and ask the manager.
- Recruitment agencies can be helpful, particularly if you have secretarial or computing skills. However, some local agencies also recruit for jobs requiring no specific qualifications, such as cleaning or fruit packing.
Education in Kent
- Higher Education Institutions
- Further Education Institutions
- Specialist Institutions
- Adult Education
- Language Schools
Higher Education Institutions
Kent has several universities which, as well as providing opportunities for further study and research, 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
- Canterbury Christ Church University
- Greenwich University
Further Education Colleges
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.canterburycollege.ac.uk
- Mid-Kent College www.midkent.ac.uk (Gillingham and Maidstone)
- West Kent and Ashford College http://westkent.ac.uk
- North Kent College www.northkent.ac.uk
- University for the Creative Arts www.ucreative.ac.uk (Canterbury 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
Teacher Training in and near Kent
Canterbury Christ Church University is our nearest provider of ITT and offers a wide range of programmes including primary, secondary and early years PGCE courses; School Direct and Teach First; post-compulsory and early years education www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/train-to-teach/train-to-teach.aspx
The following schools consortia offer schools-based teacher training:
- Ashford Teaching Alliance www.ashfordteachingalliance.co.uk/itt-schools-direct
- Bromley Schools Collegiate www.bscteach.co.uk
- Brook Learning Trust www.brooklearningtrust.org.uk/vacancies/schooldirect
- Kent & Medway Training www.kmtraining.org.uk/weoffer.htm
- Kent Oaks Consortium www.kentoaksconsortium.co.uk
- Medway Teaching School Alliance www.mtsa.co.uk
- TKAT Teaching Schools Alliance www.tsa-tkat.org/scitt
- Wandsworth Primary Schools Consortium www.scitt.co.uk
For detailed information about routes into teaching, see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/siteach.htm
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 Teacher Recruitment website at www.kent-teach.com which also includes vacancies for support staff
Independent boarding schools sometimes offer ‘gap year’ posts for new graduates. Typical job titles are “Assistant Housemaster/mistress” or simply “Gap Year Student”. Responsibilities may include pastoral care, supervisory work, help with sports or arts activities. Local schools include:
- Kent College http://kentcollege.com
- King’s School Canterbury www.kings-school.co.uk
- King’s School Rochester www.kings-rochester.co.uk
- Dover College www.dovercollege.org.uk
- Ashford School www.ashfordschool.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, some of 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/cities/uk/canterbury.htm
- 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 (KCC) runs an annual Graduate Programme. There are two streams, Management (open to graduates in any subject) and Highways, Transportation & Waste (for graduates in Engineering, Geography, Transport Planning or related subjects) www.kent.gov.uk/jobs/starting-your-career/kent-graduate-programme
- Other vacancies at KCC www.kent.gov.uk/jobs
KCC also offers a number of volunteering opportunities in areas including libraries, tourism, sports, heritage and countryside – see www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/volunteering
Job vacancies at Canterbury, Thanet and Dover Councils are listed at www.canterbury.gov.uk/your-community/jobs-volunteering/current-vacancies
For web address and contact details of other district and borough councils in Kent, see www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/how-the-council-works/district-councils
Civil Service - local offices
These include offices of the Environment Agency (West Malling), HM Courts and Tribunals Service and Job Centre Plus, which may have occasional vacancies for administrative or specialist roles. Immigration Officers are occasionally recruited for work at the Channel ports.
These vacancies may be advertised in the local press, on Civil Service Jobs 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 http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/Kent-and-Sussex for a list. Graduates may join a local establishment as a Prison Officer or join the National Offender Management Service Graduate Programme. Although this is a national scheme, it does take into account your preference for a particular location. Vacancies are advertised at www.nomscareers.com – s ee www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/Probation.htm for further information about prison and probation careers.
The NHS Management Training Scheme has an annual graduate intake, with a closing date normally in early December.
Graduates are recruited into General, Financial, Human Resources or Health Informatics 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
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 various types of NHS Trust: links to all local trusts can be found at www.england.nhs.uk/south/team/ccg-trust
Clinical Commissioning Groups
These are clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area. CCGs in Kent include Canterbury & Coastal, Medway, Ashford and Thanet.
Most hospitals in England are now managed by NHS foundation trusts, which are independent legal entities and have unique governance arrangements.
These trusts, also known as acute trusts, employ a large part of the NHS workforce, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, midwives, health visitors, physiotherapists, radiographers, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, counsellors, occupational therapists, psychologists, and healthcare scientists. Hospital trusts in Kent include:
- East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust www.ekhuft.nhs.uk
- Medway NHS Foundation Trust www.medway.nhs.uk
- Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust www.dvh.nhs.uk
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust www.kmpt.nhs.uk provides mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services as well as other specialist services to 1.7 million people across Kent and Medway.
- Kent Police www.kent.police.uk/jobs-recruiting-now Civilian and uniformed recruitment, plus volunteering opportunities
- Kent Fire & Rescue Service www.kent.fire-uk.org
- South East Coast Ambulance Trust www.secamb.nhs.uk
- Information about applying for jobs with and volunteering for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency
- See our “I Want to Work In the Emergency Services ” webpage for further information
Tourism and Heritage
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. All vacancies are advertised on their website www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/our-people/jobs/job-search - speculative applications are not accepted.
- 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 will be advertised at www.nationaltrustjobs.org.uk There are many opportunities for volunteers – see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/find-an-opportunity
- Heritage Volunteering Opportunities in Kent www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/HeritageVolunteering.htm
- Visit Kent www.visitkent.co.uk The official website about tourism and travel in Kent, with links to attractions and accommodation.
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 through local jobs boards and 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/en/jobs 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;
- London Biggin Hill Airport – specialist aviation services, primarily for the business market www.bigginhillairport.com/about/vacancies
- 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
There are few large companies headquartered, or with a significant presence, in Kent but those that are include:
- Abbott www.abbott.co.uk/careers.html pharmaceuticals and medical products
- Aesica www.aesica-pharma.com/pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organisation with a site at Queenborough, Sheppey
- BAE Systems www.baesystems.com/en/careers/careers-in-the-uk/graduate-opportunities Graduate schemes, placements and internships in business, consultancy, engineering, finance, leadership and technical delivery. Location: Rochester
- Brakes www.brakesgroup.com/careers/careers-at-brakes-group Leading European food service business, based in Ashford. Graduate programmes in finance, operations and supply chain.
- Gomez www.agomez.co.uk/employment.phpOne of the country's largest produce companies, based just outside Canterbury, whose customers include leading supermarkets. Occasionally recruits graduates into commercial roles – Spanish language skills are an advantage.
- Holiday Extras http://join.holidayextras.co.uk Provider of travel services such as airport hotels and parking, car hire and holiday insurance. Offers summer jobs and graduate positions. Featured in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For for 10 years running www.b.co.uk/Company/Profile/343326
- Saga www.sagacareers.co.uk - travel and financial services. Jobs in Folkestone, Thanet and Hastings.
- Shepherd Neame www.shepherdneame.co.uk Brewing and pub management
- UPS www.ups.com global provider of specialised transportation, logistics, capital, and e-commerce services. Located in Dartford.
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 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/ces/student/findajob.html?tab=what-is-an-sme
- 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 fastest-growing private companies in Kent 2015 www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/megagrowth-50-list-2015-45582
- List of companies located at Discovery Park, Sandwich www.discovery-park.co.uk/tenantsMore than 150 companies from established organisations to emerging start-ups in the fields of life science, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, science and technology.
- List of companies located at Kent Science Park, Sittingbourne www.kentsciencepark.co.uk/tenantdirectory/list.aspxOver 60 companies engaged in life science, high-tech engineering, environmental, ICT, medical technology and wider knowledge economy activities.
- List of companies located at Turkey Mill Business Park, Maidstone www.turkeymill.com/businesspark/facilities/view/194/tenantsIncludes banking, finance and leasing, IT, media and design, PR and marketing, office supplies and fit-out, importers, publishing, insurance, healthcare, charities, training, architects, engineers, property and construction and management consultants
- List of companies located at Crossways Business Park, Dartford www.crosswayskent.com/directory
- Kent Enterprise Hub www.kent.ac.uk/enterprise/students/enterprise-hub.html Free business advice and support for Kent students and graduates
- Startmybiz www.startmybiz-canterbury.com Funded by Canterbury City Council and the University of Kent. Helps people in the Canterbury area to set up their own business.
- Kent County Council Business Toolkit www.kent.gov.uk/business-toolkit Free online tools and services for new businesses in Kent.
- Kent Foundation www.kentfoundation.org supports Kent's entrepreneurs aged 18-30 who have come up with an idea for self- employment and need help to move forward
- See also our pages on self-employment at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/selfemployment.htm
Websites advertising jobs in Kent
- GradsKent www.GradsKent.com Opportunities for graduate jobs, placements and summer jobs together with information about Kent employers, help with applications and interviews, and tips from other local students and graduates
- Kent Jobs www.kentjobs.co.uk - includes careers news and advice.
- Jobs in Kent www.jobsinkent.com
- Yourcounty.co.uk at www.yourcounty.co.uk/business/jobs.html
- Indeed jobs in Kent www.indeed.co.uk/jobs-in-Kent
- Totaljobs Kent www.totaljobs.com/JobSeeking/Kent_l1894_t2.html
- Reed www.reed.co.uk/jobs/kent
- Job centre vacancies www.job-centre-vacancies.co.uk
Local recruitment agencies and Job Centres
- Find your nearest Jobcentre Plus www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus/how-to-contact
- 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;
- Recruitment agencies based in Kent www.agencycentral.co.uk/agencysearch/bycounty/kent.htm
- Also see our recruitment agencies page
Jobs near Kent
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 and the South-East from the University of Brighton
- Looking for a Job in Surrey www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/current/work/surreyjob
- NordJob www.nordjob.com/region-nord-pas-de-calais-emplois.html Jobs in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region
- Eures : the European job mobility portal https://ec.europa.eu/eures/public/homepage
Last fully updated 2016