There are a number of sectors that are well represented locally; details of some are given below.
Scientific and technical work
Oxfordshire is one of Europe’s leading centres of enterprise, innovation and scientific knowledge. There is a range of local science parks, including the Oxford Science Park - home to over 60 science and technology-based companies (of which 43% are bioscience, 31% are IT and 26% are other business sectors); Harwell Science and Innovation Campus - home to around 200 science and technology-based organisations, including research institutes, commercial companies and start-ups; Milton Park Innovation Centre in Abingdon, and Begbroke Science Park near Oxford - home to materials-based spinout companies.
There are also some major scientific employers based in the county. Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is home to the largest scientific facility to be built in the UK for 30 years – the Diamond Synchrotron Light Source. Nuvia Limited (formerly RWE Nukem) has one of its sites at Harwell, and close to Abingdon at Culham you will find the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, CCFE (formerly known as UKAEA Culham).
Science Oxford, aims to encourage the study, application and communication of science, technology and engineering. They are involved with networks and events for high-tech businesses and also work with schools to encourage the pursuit of science. Check their website for voluntary opportunities that arise.
Connected Oxford not only lists local vacancies (with a significant number in science & technology), but also highlights relevant news items across the region of which many are relevant to this sector. Digital Oxford was formed in 2015 to support the digital industry in Oxfordshire and encourage the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and their listings of local vacancies include many technical roles. Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) supports local companies as they grow, and has a job board used by growing firms with science and technology based businesses.
Oxford is home to two universities, a college of Further Education (City of Oxford College), numerous other colleges, schools and nurseries, and is home to many language schools, where students can come to learn English. Together these establishments offer a wide range of opportunities, not only in teaching, but also in administration, library work, promotion, marketing, and student support functions. University vacancies are advertised through their websites and the local press. There are also many tutorial colleges and agencies in Oxford – a list of these can be found in the Yellow Pages.
Oxford University Press employs staff over two main sites in the UK; its main offices are based in central Oxford and the distribution centre is in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
In scientific publishing, Elsevier Science, based in Kidlington, and Wiley (which now owns Blackwell Publishing) are two of the largest, but there are other science publishers and other specialist publishing companies throughout the county, such as MacMillan Education in Cowley and GTI. A local recruitment agency, Inspired Selection, specialises in Yell.com.
Oxfordshire County Council is the largest employer in the county. Visit their website and Oxford City Council, as well as other local district councils. Thames Valley Police is another major local employer and advertises for civilian as well as non-civilian roles.
The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS teaching trusts in the country. The Trust comprises three hospitals – the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals in Headington and the Horton Hospital in Banbury. There are many diverse opportunities available within the NHS worth investigating, – visit their website and NHS Jobs for all kinds of roles.
A number of major research institutes are hosted on the Trust’s sites, including the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. To find out more about medical research opportunities, visit the main University recruitment site.
Museums, galleries, libraries
Oxford and the surrounding area are home to many libraries, but also a number of museums, galleries and other arts facilities. Some vacancies are advertised through the public sector websites for Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, and others via the University. One of the best ways to find out about museum opportunities and gain experience is to volunteer.
A number of local employers from diverse sectors recruit regularly through the Careers Service. In the business and commercial area they include OXERA, Frost & Sullivan and Oxford Analytica. Oxfam also recruits into its internship scheme, although competition is fierce, and Ricardo AEA Ltd (formerly AEA Technology) sometimes recruits scientists and engineers for a graduate intake. Although a major local employer, graduate opportunities with BMW tend to be based in Bracknell, Berkshire. Grant Thornton recruit accountancy trainees into their Oxford and Banbury offices and Reed also take on trainee recruitment consultants. RM is the UK’s leading provider of software systems and services to UK education – their graduate scheme has positions at the Head Office in Abingdon. Unipart also has its Head Office in Oxford.
There is a wide range of voluntary opportunities in the county. From running a charity shop to encouraging more people to visit a museum, there could well be an opportunity for you to undertake full-time or part-time voluntary work if you wish to stay near Oxford and are financially able to do so. Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, produces a directory of voluntary organisations and opportunities. You can also research opportunities using websites such as Do-it.org and Volunteering. Oxford Hub, is the focal point for charitable activity at Oxford University. Through events, website and office, the Oxford Hub connects students with causes, and makes it easy for you to get involved.
A quick walk around the centre of Oxford should reveal a number of recruitment agencies advertising temporary work and among them is the university’s Temporary Staffing Service. You can sign up to these to get short-term assignments. Before using this approach, it may be necessary for you to get your IT, typing or other administrative skills up to scratch, so be realistic about what you have to offer, and tailor your CV for particular roles. Register with several agencies and keep in touch with them rather than rely on them to always contact you. Make sure that you respond quickly to any contact from them.
There are a number of local organisations that can help you if you are thinking about setting up your own business. Oxfordshire Business Enterprises Ltd. provides a free and confidential counselling service, which can start as soon as you have formulated your business idea. For further ideas see our webpage on Entrepreneurship.