Due to the current shortage of science workers, Kelly Scientific Resources (KSR), a division of recruitment company Kelly Services , has initiated action to work with universities and the science industry to bridge the skills gap.
Kelly Scientific Resources has established the Future Scientists Program, an initiative wherein universities works with industry to provide career advice, course lectures and industry placements for students studying chemistry.
The program aims to encourage people to study science and fill the skills shortage currently being experienced particularly by the chemistry industry.
Kelly Scientific Director, Anne Sabine said that the majority of demand for chemistry students is coming from the pharmaceutical, food, chemical and environmental industries with the roles involving analytical, quality assurance, or lab technician tasks.
Sabine said, “There are critical shortages in the science industry, especially in the field of chemistry.”
Kelly Scientific Resources is currently trying to attract more students to study science by providing the opportunity to gain information, advice and industry experience and therefore real job opportunities.
At the University of Queensland, Kelly Scientific Resources is in the initial stages of setting up careers lectures for first year students and industry placements for second year students.
According to Sabine, there is currently a gap between the level of skill that universities believe industry wants, and the actual levels that industry needs.
Sabine said, “There is room for better communication between education providers and the science industry. We hope to bridge that gap and provide industry with the opportunity to participate in the education of their future employees.
“We are currently surveying our science industry clients to gain a full understanding of the type of graduates they want, which courses they would prefer and at which universities.”
Sabine said that research and development roles which are highly paid positions are less common in the industry, however most students are not aware of this fact and their expectations of the industry are often misrepresented.
Sabine said, “Many young science students have unrealistic expectations of what working in the science industry will involve. So giving them the opportunity to find out about possible careers, the types of jobs available and to experience the work first-hand is invaluable.
In the current environment, approximately 40% of Kelly’s scientific business is related to the high demand for chemists, indicating the huge growth in the industry.
Sabine said a similar program being run by Kelly Services’ scientific division in the United States has been successful and her team hope to emulate that success here in Australia.
Kelly Scientific Resources is also in talks with universities including Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University of Technology Sydney about the program.