In studying mathematics or science you also build up a range of other transferable skills, including:
- time management
- IT and technology
People with mathematical and science qualifications are sought after by employers across the South West.
Routes into this sector
There are a various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and Maths will help get you into this sector. Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. related to this specific job sector.
- At 16 you have more options – A Levels, apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, and traineeships have also started in some areas.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
There are some job opportunities available for people who wish to start their careers at a technician or assistant level and the most popular route is through an apprenticeship. You might want to look at local apprenticeship opportunities for Laboratory and Science Technicians or in the Water, Gas, Nuclear, and sustainable energy industries.
The majority of mathematics or science careers require a higher level of specialist education, for example a Foundation Degree, or a relevant Honours degree. Work experience is also valued in this particular work area and many degree level courses offer placements. You need to identify what area of science or how you want to use your maths as there are many opportunities with these skills from working in finance, engineering, new technologies such as low carbon energy and research labs in a health care setting.
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Sector Skills Council’s website for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies called SEMTA or visit the Cogent website. You can explore the science career pathways available through this link to the Cogent site.
Thinking about a degree?
- Find out what A Levels you need to study biochemistry
- Find out what A Levels you need to study biology
- Find out what A Levels you need to study chemistry
- Find out what A Levels you need to study maths
- Find out what A Levels you need to study economics
- Find out the A Levels you need to study physics
Spotlight on becoming a Laboratory Technician
Laboratory technicians can be involved in a variety of laboratory-based investigations within biological, chemical, physical and life science areas. This can include carrying out sampling, testing, measuring, recording and analysing of results as part of a team. Laboratory technicians could also be involved in research and development (R&D) and in scientific analysis and investigation.
Employment could be in industry such as pharmaceuticals and research or working for government. Some laboratory technicinas work in education and provide support for science teachers, lecturers and students.
Tasks could involve performing laboratory tests, preparing specimens and samples, maintaining and operating standard laboratory equipment recording and interpreting results of analyses and using computers to prepare graphs and performing calculations.
The type of the work will depend upon the organisation. If you were working for a food company you could be sampling new flavours or you could be working for the public sector for the environment agency and conducting environmental analysis of water samples. In the NHS there are many laboratory technicians preparing and checking samples to check for diseases and other illnesses.
You will need a minimum of four GCSEs (A-C) including science, maths and English. It can also help if you have science related A levels.
You could follow an apprenticeship route where you would train as a junior laboratory technician and learn practical scientific skills. During your apprenticeship you would learn about the fundamentals of science, pick up practical skills and take a qualification in applied science.
Following the degree route is also a popular option, taking science based subject at University.
Visit the National Careers Service for more information on becoming a Laboratory Technician
Being a Laboratory Technician
View the video on Careersbox
Websites for vacancies in this sector
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed a 4 week course on Basic Science: Understanding Numbers. Click on the following link for more information