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

Work in 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 at

www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/8189/Labour-force-profile.pdf

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATES IN KENT

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
www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/8185/Graduates-in-Kent.pdf

EDUCATION IN KENT

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.

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

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.

Other Further Education Institutions:

Specialist institutions

Adult Education

Schools

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:

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 staff

Teachers 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

Language Schools

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.

PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYERS

Local Authorities

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:

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.

Health Authorities

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

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.

Hospital Trusts

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.

Ambulance Trusts

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.

Other Emergency services

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.

Trains and Boats and Planes

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:

Other Employers - Large

Large companies in Kent include:

 

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.

SMEs

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:

Self-employment

Websites and publications advertising jobs in Kent

Local recruitment agencies and Job Centres

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:

 

Last fully updated 2014