Chemistry, Life Science & Engineering Recruitment


Hello! I’m Ailsa and I’m the Regional Account Manager for Scotland at VRS and here is my story of how, as a Neuroscience graduate, I have spent the last six years working in scientific recruitment!

How I got here…

I bet you not many people grow up thinking ‘I’d like to be a Recruitment Consultant one day’; this was no different in my case. Graduating from the University of Glasgow with a BSc in Neuroscience I knew only one thing for sure, my level of clumsiness would not bode well in a laboratory environment.

In the beginning…

I never had a clear career ambition throughout school, so when it came to applying for University I spent a lot of time doing numerous career quiz’s – only to end up more confused! Eventually listening to the advice of my mum, “just do what you enjoy”, I chose to study Neuroscience.

Thankfully I really enjoyed this, or perhaps it was the University ‘lifestyle’ that I was particularly fond of! Either way, it sparked an ambition to move into the Scientific industry and gave me a varied knowledge base in which I could build upon in my career.

A highlight for me was getting the opportunity to dissect a human brain, although possibly not everyone’s cup of tea! It’s hard to think about what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are only 17 years old, so just do what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place.

Identifying career direction…

After 4 years of (mostly) studying, the real world came calling. Working alongside my studies at JD Sports I continued this position full-time after graduating – luckily, I had an excellent team around me and great management, so I really enjoyed my time there.

It was maybe from this time in a customer service focussed job that I decided my career needed to have communication and team working at the forefront. After a good long bit of research into my options and some questionable job applications, I decided that scientific recruitment was what I wanted to aim for.

A job where I could use my scientific knowledge but also work closely with people to provide an excellent service – it seemed like the perfect job for me!

Where’s a job when you need one!

After looking for a couple of months in my native Scotland, I relocated down to Manchester with my partner who had recently secured a role there, transferring down to JD Sports in the Arndale Centre to keep the bills paid.

Looking and applying for jobs is time consuming, especially as I believe it is crucial to tailor your individual applications.


However I quickly stumbled upon VRS – a company that not only specialised in my sector of interest, but also echoed my opinions on the morals of recruitment! Matching the right candidate to the right role rather than pushing someone into the wrong role for some fast cash!

When you know, you know!

After one meeting with our Director I knew it was the company for me. Over a couple of interviews, I met the rest of the team and pitched for my place to join them – eventually summing up why they should hire me – I was (and still am!) a Very Reliable Scotswoman. Thankfully they all had a good sense of humour and the job was mine.

6 years’ experience, 1 marriage and a baby…

Over the last six years, I have worked on a huge variety of roles across the UK and worked with so many wonderful people. Recruitment is a fast-paced but equally rewarding position – nothing beats the feeling of informing someone they’ve just secured the role they love!

Albeit there are difficult days (as with most jobs!) but having an excellent team around you to pick you up is one of the many reasons why I love VRS. In six years, I’ve had my fair share of amazing, frustrating and downright bizarre moments – all things that keep you on your toes.

International Networking – work hard/play hard(er)

Alongside the day-to-day office goings-on, VRS regularly attend conferences across the world. I’ve been lucky to travel with this job, and on one of my favourite trips I attended the ASMS conference in San Antonio, Texas back in 2016.

I like to think I have a well-balanced work/play schedule, however one evening after too long in the hospitality suites I ended up slightly worse for wear. Forgetting to set my alarm for the next morning of the conference, I awoke to housekeeping knocking on my door!

Thankfully our Director appreciates networking as an important aspect of our job! Traveling with the job is such an amazing perk and something that will always be appreciated – it’s also such a fantastic opportunity to meet so many of our clients as well as build relationships with new companies and industry professionals.

Returning to the Native Homelands!

At the end of 2017 I relocated back to Glasgow to get married and settle down.

To my relief I was given the opportunity to remain at VRS (thanks to the joy of technology!) and have since been extending VRS partnerships across Scotland.

Working from the BioCity between Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s a great hub to work closely alongside the scientific community.

In early 2019 I was off… to have a baby – my daughter Isobel was born in February. Such a precious 10 months off, certainly a lot harder than I had ever anticipated – hats off to anyone with any more than 1!

Back from maternity

Having recently returned, I will be continuing where I left off and developing VRS Scotland. I very much enjoy being back at work, although I do appreciate slightly different things now – like coming to work everyday to enjoy a hot cup of tea!


Ok, so down to business. As I said before, I am currently building VRS Scotland into a busy and reputable extension of the company.

We are here for you…

Specialising in Analytical Chemistry and Life Sciences, we are keen to assist you with your recruitment needs across a variety of role types including Analysts, Sales professionals, Engineers and Laboratory Support staff, and any other roles you feel we’d be well placed to assist with.

If you are interested in learning more about how VRS can help you, please contact me on the below details. Alternatively, please contact me for a site visit and I would be more than happy to pop in to see you and learn more about you and your business.

If you are a job seeker and are hunting for positions in Scotland, please also get in touch with your CV and I’ll contact you to discuss your requirements and career aspirations.

Thanks for reading!!

I am certainly not the most eloquent writer, however hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about my career story. Whether you are in the early days of deciding what to do with your life or are well established within the industry – I hope at the very least you have enjoyed a 5-minute reading break from your working day. One thing’s for sure, I won’t be quitting my day job!

Ailsa Watt

BioCity Scotland, Bo'Ness Road, Newhouse, ML1 5UH


Telephone: 07393 608091

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