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Which are the best courses to get back into the workplace? (Science background)

16 replies

RequiresUpdating · 16/05/2023 15:28

I've been a SAHM for far too long and need to get back to work. I can't go back into research or lab work as I've been out for too long and I need flexibility (I have a DC with SN) both time wise and wfh vs office. I keep getting rejections, the latest is We have carefully reviewed your documents and noted your good qualifications. As other candidates matched our desired profile even better, we regret we cannot consider your application for this position.

It was for a job with seemingly basic statistics, which I've experience of, although not with the programs they mentioned in their ad. I wonder if I need to take a course and then can write I've experience in more up to date programs? Do you actually need to have used a program for a job to say you've experience in it?
Complicated by the fact that I can't do one that costs anything or requires online presence in the evenings. (i.e. DH will never agree to paying for me to do a course, or for it to inconvenience the family). It would have to be something I could do when DC is at school and on demand in case DH decides to change his wfh days.

I took a look at some courses that say e.g. 35 hours - does anyone know if this is the official teaching time or if it's the time they think you need to complete all the work required for the course?

OP posts:
drspouse · 16/05/2023 15:44

What qualifications do you already have? Why is your DH being so unsupportive? Surely paying for something that would enhance your earning power would benefit the whole family, or is he expecting that you will remain barefoot and in the kitchen??

If you are looking at particular statistics programs, you can get online short courses to train you in many of them (there are free ones, including on demand courses - I use some of these techniques for work and had some CPD money to spend so I looked at the paid ones!) and you can add completion of the course to your CV. In terms of using them rather than just learning them, could you do something like an amateur science survey e.g. local park use, wildlife, something to do with Citizen Science? sorry if I'm completely off base!

RequiresUpdating · 16/05/2023 15:56

Oh, I didn't know there was one. Thanks @MarciaSaysANumber
@drspouse phd in a hard science. Oh he complains all the time I don't earn anything but he doesn't want me to work because it might mean he'd have to acknowledge the DC and parent them occasionally 😫

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drspouse · 16/05/2023 16:04

Sounds like you'd be better off with him parenting them full time three days a week and you off doing an MSc in a different subject and living in a different house!

I have no idea what's marketable in terms of degrees but I do know that taking an MSc in a different subject is relatively common in people who have a PhD but don't want to carry on in that field.

An alternative is the Civil Service but it is not mainly WFH (DH did this after an MSc as a mature student but I am not sure you'd need recent study, you should be OK with a career break).

TotallyKerplunked · 16/05/2023 16:09

I was in a similar position to you and I now work as a lab tech in a school. It might be worth considering given your background and need for a job to fit around school hours. I'm very lucky and do 4 days of 5 hours and they let me be flexible with which days I work and I also get to use my brain.

MarciaSaysANumber · 16/05/2023 16:14

Tbh, @RequiresUpdating it sounds as if you need the Relationships board more. You’re married and bringing up a shared child but you have no say whatsoever in how family money is spent, or in how you spend your evenings?

Look, it’s an awful thing to acknowledge, but your husband clearly does not love you, so your marriage isn’t secure. You really do need to carve out a career / job that will support you and your child.

RequiresUpdating · 16/05/2023 16:18

You really do need to carve out a career / job that will support you and your child.
I know, but I'm seemingly unemployable 😥

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drspouse · 16/05/2023 16:56

It sounds like you wouldn't be unemployable if you had childcare.

D20 · 16/05/2023 17:25

I’d be looking at 2/3 day courses. Anything by a reputable provider or accredited by an institution. I’d focus on any relevant advancements that you might feel left behind on…. Net zero/hydrogen/carbon capture/sustainability/batteries etc are all hot topics in my sphere.

CatsOnTheChair · 16/05/2023 17:36

Very, very similar to Kerplunked.
No PhD, but Masters in science. 5 year break due to DH's job. Flat rejections for, in my mind, totally suitable jobs.
Now a school science tech. It's poor money - I work term time only for 1/3 of my old salary (so, I guess half my old hourly rate).
Bonus of school holidays off to be with my kids who are too big for childcare, but too small, imo, to be alone 8-6 5 days a week in the holidays.
The "women into science - apply if you have a STEM degree and a 3 year career break" couldn't find a suitable opportunity for me, despite them liking me at interview.

ODFOx · 16/05/2023 17:52

Consider project management or data management courses.
I employ PhDs with project management in pharma development and they usually work from home.
Data management/statistics is largely based on particular packages, as you have found, but is also flexible if you know the correct software.
If your stats knowledge is really out of date but you are a competent SAS programmer there are lots of opportunities for work on legacy systems across the industry at the moment.
Good luck

Jorvik1978 · 16/05/2023 18:17

Your husband sounds like an arse! Take the opportunity to upskill yourself so that, should you need to, you can support yourself and your DC.

It sounds like you have a good set of skills to build on. First thing to decide is what you are interested in pursuing. For example, with the statistics (that's what I do), is that something you are genuinely interested in? If so, then learning some programming would be extremely useful. R or python would be my suggestion. Having learnt various packages over the years, these two are the ones I see repeatedly asked for in job adverts, particularly if you're looking at public or third sector.

Regardless of whether you pursue this line or not, the best thing is for you to think about what line of work you want, what are your key skills, where do the two overlap and critically, where are the gaps. Once you've identified those, there's loads of training available (both free and paid-for) that can help plug those gaps.

Good luck!

RequiresUpdating · 17/05/2023 15:50

@D20 i can't do a full day anywhere.
@CatsOnTheChair and @TotallyKerplunked I'd not thought of that, good idea. I'll keep my eyes open, but the school by us has no vacancies at the moment.
@ODFOx I'll look, thanks. I seem to have experience only in a random program that no one knows about!
@Jorvik1978 Am looking into Python/R/SQL at the moment. The job ads I've seen recently have mentioned Python and SQL. I've found a local uni offering a totally online course with à monthly fee, elements of data science with R, so if I could complete it within a month I could pay for it. I'm not genuinely interested in it, but I think I could probably do it with a bit of a refresher.

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RequiresUpdating · 03/06/2023 06:49

I have a plan! I'm applying for anything and everything close to home. I applied on Tuesday for a job which is not really nearby, however I wrote 50% in bold on the cover letter when the ad is for 80-100%. They called yesterday and I've an interview 🤞
If I haven't found anything by November, I'm going to apply for the online uni course. That will give me time to skim a month's fees off the shopping money and brush up on some background between now and then.

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FloofCloud · 03/06/2023 07:11

Well done @RequiresUpdating !

Do you live near a university? There are often part time jobs going and if you can get a foot in the door you can get support. I finished a postdoc when i was 13 weeks pregnant, couldn't find another job so had my baby, had 12 months mat leave and went back into uni job that was 9 month maternity cover part time in 2009 and still working there! It was a research admin post, but got experience, academics were great at giving me extra hours to teach and offering suppprt with learning new things so I've managed to progress well and take all sorts of different roles over the years.
Often universities have their own temp agency on site too, a few are called UniTemps (at my uni and a few others) so try this route too.
Be brave and just get a shoe in the door - good luck!

thatsn0tmyname · 03/06/2023 07:38

I just popped in to suggest school lab technician and someone has beaten me to it. Pay isn't great but it's term time and most schools are pretty flexible. Some schools offer priority entrance to children of staff if you've been there a couple of years.

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