Disclaimer: I am a strong advocate for everything SEPnet does. I love the way they extend a collaborative approach to everyone involved in physics. Regardless, opinions expressed anywhere on this site are my own.
SEPnet is the South-East Physics Network of nine universities of the South of England. If you are based somewhere else, you can still consult and benefit from their online resources.
The SEPnet team organizes many opportunities for physics students. It’s been a long conundrum in physics education: since the majority of students will not pursue an academic career, should their universities teach them employability skills? Open their minds to the (countless) other possibilities out there? Most will admit that they should, but they don’t. Admittedly, students have centuries of concepts and applications to catch up, and time is limited. Physics department usually decide to focus on physics (which they do really well) rather than employability (which they can do… less well).
SEPnet fills this gap by setting up internships in STEM-based companies and organizing free career-related workshops. Some events specifically target female students, while an upcoming initiative will aim to “create a […] supportive intersectional physics community”. Students find themselves in a safe place to ask the “stupid” questions and have honest conversations about careers.
If you wonder about what awaits after your degree, know that there are lots of resources out there. And that a lot of people eager to help. Explore SEPnet’s website! SEPnet also regularly partners with the Institute of Physics, which is another excellent source of inspiration for the places and topics where physicists can apply their skills.
Teachers and industry have their own resources: a card deck to explain the variety of STEM careers, the options and benefits of hosting a student, etc. The message, really, is that physics is for everyone and can be applied to everything. Exactly what I am hammering here 😉