Moving from academia to industry
2021-11-01

During the final months of my PhD, I still wasn’t absolutely sure on what my next step would be once I got my thesis submitted. I had always planned to move into industry after finishing my studies, but due to COVID-19 and its impact on the sectors I had initially had in mind, I felt that many of the opportunities that may have been open to me previously were, for that period of time, closed off as companies dealt with the fall out of the pandemic. I had always liked the idea of having some freedom to align myself with exciting projects and organisations that were forward-thinking in the world of human factors, and having been contacted on several occasions across the last year of my PhD in regards to consultancy work, I thought I’d test the waters and see if I could make some opportunities of my own. I decided to set up Axiom Human Factors. In the time since, I’ve driven the length of the UK, assisting with human factors facilitation courses, conducting thematic based incident investigations, and spent a great deal of time using academic rigour to help organisations develop, or else finetune, their human factors offering.

Recently, my time has been split between working from home in Aberdeen and traveling to England to assist clients in person. Generally, my home-based work involves working with clients on their existing HF materials or else helping them shape their approach towards modern thinking in human factors – in that regard a lot of my day to day from home is very similar to PhD work, aside from the fact that the world outside of academia is very fast moving and things need to be streamlined and compiled very quickly.Luckily, over a PhD, you get very used to trawling through information at a decent pace! My time away is often spent being the academic back-up in human factors facilitation sessions or helping to develop solutions to HF related issues. It’s an awesome experience to work with individuals who have tremendous experience across high-risk industry, and my role has very much been to meet that experience with underpinning theory – to sort of lift the hood now and again and talk about what’s going on from a scientific perspective. It’s been a steep learning curve; a lot of driving, hotel stays, and navigating across the country, but it’s been incredibly rewarding!

 

Dr Oliver Hamlet completed his PhD at the School of Psychology and is now the founder and owner of Axiom Human Factors.

Published by The School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen

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