I Want to Work 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

Opportunities for Graduates in Kent

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.

Education  in Kent

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

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.

Specialist institutions

Adult Education


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:

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. 

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:

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, some of the schools listed also offer initial TEFL qualifications for potential teachers.


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
 (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  

KCC also offers a number of volunteering opportunities in areas including libraries, tourism, sports, heritage and countryside – see

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.

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, 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

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.

Hospital Trusts

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:

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.

Emergency services

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.

Trains and Boats and PlanesWork in Kent

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:

Other  Employers - Large

There are few large companies headquartered, or with a significant presence, in Kent but those that are 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    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:


Websites 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 2016